New Release: Speculation by Nisi Shawl

Today, we are delighted to celebrate the release of Speculation by Nisi Shawl, a wonderful middle-grade fantasy debut about Black families, family history, family curses … and a really marvelous pair of spectacles!

Cover of Speculation by Nisi Shawl shows Black girl with two braids and glasses with a magical, ghostly aura around them.

After Winna’s little sister breaks her glasses, her grandfather gives her an old-timey pair of spectacles that belonged to her great-aunt Estelle. The specs are silver and perfectly circular, with tiny stars on the bridge and earpieces that curl all the way around her ears.

Best of all, they’re magic.

Praise for Speculation:

⭐ “Shawl imaginatively winds suspense, humor, and loss in this story that shows how the past isn’t so far behind us.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Delightful, lovely, moving. Nisi Shawl has crafted a timeless classic for present and future generations of young readers.” — David Bowles, award-winning author of They Call Me Güero

“Nisi Shawl demonstrates once again why they are a literary treasure. Rooted in both history and magic, Speculation is a richly layered page turner full of imagination on every page. With all of its twists, this story will make you look at the world through new eyes!” — Maurice Broaddus, author of Unfadeable and The Usual Suspects

Starring an inquisitive, perceptive protagonist and a supportive cast of adult characters, this intergenerational story underlines themes of family history and inheritance alongside a meditation on ordinary wonders.” — Publishers Weekly

“Beautiful, poetic prose . . . Speculation is an empathetic and intriguing fantasy novel about magical powers and human weaknesses.” — ForeWord Reviews

Order your copy today:
Lee & Low
Barnes & Noble

. . . or from your favorite Black-owned bookshop!

Author photo showing Nisi Shawl on a beach holding a skewer between hands with palms together as in prayer

Nisi Shawl is a multiple-award-winning writer and editor. Their novel Everfair was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the short story collection Filter House won the James Tiptree Jr. Award. In 1997, they cofounded the Carl Brandon Society to help give people of color greater visibility in the science fiction and fantasy worlds, and their “Writing the Other” workshops and accompanying book (co-created with Cynthia Ward) have taught thousands of writers new ways of thinking about diversity and representation within fiction.

Nisi received the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2019. Speculation is their first novel for young readers. Born near Kalamazoo, Michigan, Nisi now lives near Seattle. Find them online at and on Twitter at @nisishawl.

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