Atana and the Firebird

HarperAlley, 2023
Middle Grade

Atana’s island may be quiet and peaceful, but mostly, it’s lonely. With the outside world full of magic hunters who would stop at nothing to capture a mermaid like her, Atana has never been brave enough to swim far from her island’s shores and seek the answers to her mysterious past—until a firebird named Ren unexpectedly crashes into her life.

Ren’s arrival does not go unnoticed, as it has been hundreds of years since a firebird last landed on Earth. Determined to both protect Ren and finally chase the answers she’s longed for, Atana embarks on an adventure that takes her and the firebird to strange new islands and entangles them with the powerful yet secretive Witch Queen.

Generous though the Witch Queen’s offer of protection may be, an invitation to the Blue Palace can’t come without a price. And while the Palace’s splendid halls and library might hold the key to Atana’s past, will she be willing to pay the cost when it risks her chance of a bright new future?

Available everywhere books are sold, including your local book store.
Book 2 of the Atana duology is planned for 2025.

“Zhou’s art matches the charming nature of the characters beautifully. Younger readers will love the friendship and impetuous nature of the main trio, while older readers can also guess at what secrets will be revealed in the next volume. Recommended for any child looking for a magical adventure with loyal friends.” — Booklist

“Dynamic action sequences are rendered via deceptively simple linework and a vibrant color palette, and an engaging magic system paired with an endearing and plucky cast make for a quick-paced adventure.” — Publishers Weekly

“Intriguing, complex story is simply and elegantly drawn. Lovers of the genre will find plenty to enjoy.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Readers looking for a magical story will be satisfied.” — School Library Journal

“A gently lyrical, beautifully drawn story.” — Faith Erin Hicks, New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award–winning author

“Atana and her friends live in a world as beautiful as it is mysterious, and their adventure is one readers will want to share.” — Ethan Aldridge, New York Times bestselling author of Estranged

“Deftly drawn in with candy-coated hues, this is perfect for those looking for a sweet, cozy adventure.” — Reimena Yee, author of Séance Tea Party and My Aunt Is a Monster

“An elegant and mystical start to a tale that’s truly captivating.” — Amanda Castillo, coauthor of the Mapmakers series

Development Art

This project is partially funded by the Canada Council For the Arts.