Welcome to the second instalment in the Daughters of Light series. As I sit down to write this letter, one thought keeps playing through my mind, and that is, more than ever, we need strong female role models for teen girls in both fiction and in reality. The recent success of DC Comics' newest incarnation of Wonder Woman illustrates this. Current events in our world are shaping an urgent desire for she-roes. On January 21st of this year, millions of women, men and children marched throughout our world in solidarity to speak out against the increasing erosion of women’s rights and freedoms, especially in light of the newly inaugurated US president.
Traditionally, there has been a dearth of strong, intelligent, and diverse female protagonists in YA literature. In the last few years, this has slowly changed, though the situation is still far from ideal. Harry Potter’s Hermoine Granger, Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Sierra Santiago of Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowshaper and Starr Carter from Angie Thomas’s amazing debut novel, The Hate U Give, come to mind. In Older and Thomas’s literature, the intersectionality of the protagonist’s experiences and identities are explored – race, culture, gender and socio-economic status intertwine in complex and challenging ways.
It is my hope that Jade and Jasmine Guzman, the Latinx protagonists of Solomon’s Ring, serve to add to this newly emerging cannon of strong female YA protagonists. They are, in many ways, normal teenage girls concerned with mundane things like friendship conflicts and crushes, but they also spend their days training in preparation for a battle in which they’ll be responsible for saving the world from climate change, an invasion of demons, and other supernatural forces bent on destroying the human race.
It is my sincere hope that you, the reader, will enjoy the progression of Jade and Jasmine’s journey in Solomon’s Ring, and remember that the power of our youth, of the ordinary person, to instigate change and promote social justice in our world is key to a positive future for our planet and all living beings on it.
In hope and solidarity,
Mary Jennifer Payne