A Wish in the Dark, written by Christina Soontornvat and published by Candlewick Press, is the Winner in the Books for Older Children category.
A Wish in the Dark is set in a Thai inspired fantasy world in which Pong and Somkit, nine-year-old orphan boys, must live in Namwon prison until the age of thirteen. Pong, however, escapes the prison and begins a new life at a Wat (temple) in a different city, hiding his fugitive status. Nok – an obedient daughter of the prison’s warden – is eager to capture Pong to gain the approval of her family. As she discovers secrets, Nok transforms from the perfect daughter of a wealthy family to stand with Pong and Somkit, and for the people who are oppressed by the governor who controls the city of Chattatana and the lights that power the city. Loosely based on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, this beautifully narrated fantasy encourages reader reflection and dialogue about structural social inequity and the role of protests in creating social change.
Author: Christina Soontornvat
Award: 2021 Winner Book for Older Children