Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Tomi Adeyemi

Tomi Adeyemi, a Nigerian-American California native, knew she wanted to write from the time she could read. In fact, Adeyemi knew that she wanted to write a young adult novel and eventually see it made into a movie—a dream she is in the process of achieving with Children of Blood and Bone. As a teenager, Adeyemi wrote hundreds of pages, but never completed a novel. As a senior in high school, moved to action by instances of police brutality against African Americans, Adeyemi got serious about writing a book that could help alleviate some of the anguish she saw in the world. She began reading writing guides, studied English at Harvard University, and solicited advice from professional authors. After graduating, Adeyemi traveled to Salvador, Brazil, where she studied West African culture and mythology on a fellowship. It was there that she gained inspiration for Children of Blood and Bone and the magical, dangerous world of Orïsha.
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Historical Context of Children of Blood and Bone

Instances of police brutality against people of color in America catalyzed Adeyemi’s debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone. In 2012, a police officer fatally shot African American high school student Trayvon Martin as he was walking home from a convenience store. In 2015, Freddie Gray, a young black man, died from injuries sustained when police arrested him, allegedly for possessing a knife. Despite murder chargers, juries acquitted the police officers involved in these situations. Incidents like these sparked protests and catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movement, which is in part aimed at combatting police violence towards African Americans. Many more similar incidents have happened just since the time Adeyemi began her novel in 2017. The injustice of these events and the fear they can inspire in young African American people are paralleled in the world of Children of Blood and Bone.

Other Books Related to Children of Blood and Bone

Adeyemi’s young adult fantasy novel, Children of Blood and Bone, is a conscious pushback to the prevailing whiteness of so-called staples of the genre, as well as a reaction to those who reject the introduction of more diverse characters into young adult fiction. When Adeyemi was a teenager, she watched as fans of The Hunger Games books opposed the casting of a black actor to play the character Rue. Adeyemi realized that the genre, as well as readers of color who had to search for representation, were suffering. Rather than drawing inspiration from high fantasy works like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, which are dominated by white characters, Adeyemi looked to works of fantasy by and about other people of color to inspire Children of Blood and Bone. In particular, she points to Daniel José Older’s young adult fantasy novel Shadowshaper, which is about an African-Puerto Rican teenager, and the fantasy novel An Ember in the Ashes, by Pakistani-American writer Sabaa Tahir as the primary sources of inspiration for Children of Blood and Bone. Adeyemi also draws inspiration from her childhood love of anime, with its sweeping narratives and heroic protagonists.
Key Facts about Children of Blood and Bone
  • Full Title: Children of Blood and Bone
  • When Written: 2017
  • When Published: March 2018
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Setting: The fictional country of Orïsha, inspired by West Africa
  • Climax: The centennial ceremony
  • Antagonist: King Saran
  • Point of View: First person, alternating between Zélie, Amari, and Inan

Extra Credit for Children of Blood and Bone

A Dream Come True. Adeyemi was able to carry out her lifelong dream of publishing a hit Young Adult fantasy novel after Children of Blood and Bone won Pitch Wars, a competition in which writers submit their book ideas in order to be matched up with agents and editors.

Inspired by Art. Tomi Adeyemi often draws writing ideas from striking images. Children of Blood and Bone was inspired in part by a single image of a young black girl with glowing, pale hair.