Teen Novel Tackles Civil War Era Brooklyn Heights

It’s not everyday that you come across a book featuring an Afro-Latina time traveler who lands in Brooklyn Heights circa 1863.  In author Zetta Elliot’s A Wish After Midnight, Crown Heights teen Genna is transported back in time to her neighborhood in the Civil War era, a wish granted after tossing a coin into the fountain at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Believed to be a runaway slave, she is befriended by a white doctor who lives in Brooklyn Heights.  The Young Adult novel touches upon many of the issues of the day – the differences between abolitionists, the New York Draft Riots and more.

Elliot, who is Canadian and now a resident of Brooklyn, discussed the book with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer.

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  • http://mermaidsonparade.blogspot.com/2010/01/brooklyn-celebrates-its-author.html melanie hope greenberg

    Hooray for Zetta!

  • http://coloronline.blogspot.com susan

    So glad to see this novel getting the attention it deserves.

    Congratulations, Zetta!

  • Andrew Porter

    She flees into the Garden late one night. But in the Summer, the BBG closes at 6pm. I guess she had to climb over the fences and avoid the patrolling guards. I guess it was Literary License…

    Octavia E. Butler (a very nice person I used to know) would have gotten that little detail right.

  • http://zettaelliott.wordpress.com Zetta Elliott

    Actually, Andrew, Genna is able to slip into the garden late one night b/c there’s a wedding reception–otherwise, you’re right–she’d be scaling that spiked fence. You’re fortunate to have known Ms. Butler.

  • lifer