In this post, we feature acclaimed author Alaya Dawn Johnson, whose previous titles include Love Is the Drug, winner of the Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. You can hear her speak about her new book, The Library of Broken Worlds, and try her “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!
- Written by Alaya Dawn Johnson
- Published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.
- Release date: June 6, 2023
In the winding underground tunnels of the Library, the great peacekeeper of the three systems, a heinous secret lies buried. Freida is the only one who can uncover it. As the daughter of a Library god, Freida has spent her whole life exploring the Library’s ever-changing tunnels and communing with the gods. Her unparalleled access makes her unique―and dangerous. When Freida meets Joshua, a Tierran boy desperate to save his people, Freida is compelled to help him. But in order to do so, she will have to venture deeper into the Library than ever before. There, she will discover the atrocities of the past, the truth of her origins, and the impossibility of her future. With the world at the brink of war, Freida embarks on a journey to fulfill her destiny, one that pits her against an ancient war god. Her mission is straightforward: Destroy the god before he can rain hellfire upon thousands of innocent lives―if he doesn’t destroy her first. Featuring deeply imagined, intricately layered word-building and memorable characters, Alaya Dawn Johnson’s novel explores the infinite complexities of freedom.
From The Library of Broken Worlds, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
“A girl and a god, alone in communion. The god awakes, as he was meant to. He is furious! “Click here to view a longer preview of The Library of Broken Worlds, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Listen to Alaya Dawn Johnson talking with TeachingBooks about creating The Library of Broken Worlds. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.
- Listen to Alaya Dawn Johnson pronounce her name.
- Sample the ebook of The Library of Broken Worlds on OverDrive.com.
- Sample the audiobook of The Library of Broken Worlds on OverDrive.com
- Explore TeachingBooks’ collection of activities and resources for The Library of Broken Worlds.
Invitation to Imagine
TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Alaya Dawn Johnson.
Imagination Activity with Alaya Dawn Johnson
Imagine a world without money (any national currency, bills, credit cards, Bitcoin, etc.). Maybe this is in the past, like in a small prehistoric village, or in the future. Imagine the life of a typical person. What do they eat for breakfast if they can’t buy eggs or bacon? Do they trade? Do they go to a government shop where everything is free? Do they collect the eggs from their chicken coop and butcher a hog? Or maybe you’re imagining another system of production and exchange that I haven’t described here. Would they have a job (i.e. work for someone else)? Would they do something else with their day? Why isn’t there money? Is it unnecessary? Have people renounced it? Has another kind of exchange replaced it? Do you imagine an isolated world, or a big, interconnected one? Does it change how people relate to one another? Does it change things like marriage, healthcare, or school? Write a story, draw a picture, or make a diagram that explains at least one aspect of your money-free world.
Finish This Sentence . . . with Alaya Dawn Johnson
As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Alaya Dawn Johnson’s response.
“My favorite books when I was a young reader were…”
My favorite books as a teen were anything by Diana Wynne Jones (especially Howl’s Moving Castle and The Homeward Bounders), The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce, and The Vicky Bliss series by Elizabeth Peters. Actually, I’m lying; I had about 20 other favorite books: The Lymond Chronicles series by Dorothy Dunnett, Kindred by Octavia Butler, Mating by Norman Rush, and Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. I feel guilty stopping there, but suffice it to say, there were many!
“A surprising thing that helps me write is…”
A surprising thing that helps me write is practicing a different language. Unlike my characters, I don’t have implants in my brain that let me understand any language that I hear, so I get to learn my languages by heart, as my character Freida would say. That also means that I get to immerse myself in the beauty and strangeness of other ways of speaking about the world, which in turn makes me more open and curious about my own language and its peculiarities.
More Connections to Alaya Dawn Johnson and The Library of Broken Worlds
- Discover books like The Library of Broken Worlds on TeachingBooks.
- Scholastic’s page about The Library of Broken Worlds, written by Alaya Dawn Johnson.
- Buy The Library of Broken Worlds, written by Alaya Dawn Johnson.
All text and images are courtesy of Alaya Dawn Johnson and Scholastic, Inc., and may not be used without expressed written consent.