The Writing’s On The Wall is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I create desktop wallpapers inspired by some of my favourite novels, authors, and literary quotes.
I’ve been given a number of incredible opportunities over the last ten years while blogging on Pop! Goes The Reader, but few have been more special or meant more to me than the post I’m sharing today. Karuna Riazi has been a kind and supportive friend to me and the blog since its inception, and in turn I’ve come to deeply appreciate both her art and her character in equal measure. The book community is so fortunate to count her amongst its members and there is truly no-one else like her.
When Karuna reached out to ask that I create a wallpaper inspired by her latest middle grade release, A Bit of Earth, which is a vibrant, creative contemporary reimagining of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, I was honoured. Bridget Hodder’s review of A Bit of Earth on the Nerdy Book Club captures the incomparable beauty of this story better than I could ever hope to, but suffice it to say I couldn’t have asked for a better source of inspiration when creating the designs below.
A Bit of Earth is in indescribably rich, evocative story crafted by a masterful artist and it’s my dearest hope that I was able to capture even a small fraction of the hope, resilience, healing and growth I found within its pages in the designs below.
Title A Bit of Earth
Author Karuna Riazi
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date March 14th 2023 by Greenwillow Books
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon ● Chapters ● Blackwell’s ● Barnes & Noble ● IndieBound
Maria Latif is used to not having a space of her own. But what happens when she feels the sudden urge to put down roots in the most unexpected of places? Karuna Riazi crafts a tender coming-of-age story about friendship, family, and new beginnings. A Bit of Earth is a reimagining of the classic The Secret Garden, perfect for fans of Other Words For Home and The Bridge Home.
Growing up in Pakistan, Maria Latif has been bounced between reluctant relatives for as long as she can remember — first because of her parents’ constant travel, and then because of their deaths. Maria has always been a difficult child, and it never takes long for her guardians to tire of her. So when old friends of her parents offer to “give her a better life” in the United States, Maria is shipped to a host family across the world.
When Maria arrives on Long Island, things are not quite what she was expecting. Mr. Clayborne has left on an extended business trip, Mrs. Clayborne seems emotionally fraught, and inexplicable things keep happening in the Claybornes’ sprawling house. And then Maria finds a locked gate to an off-limits garden. Since she’s never been good at following rules, Maria decides to investigate and discovers something she never thought she’d find: a place where she feels at home.
With a prickly main character, a sullen boy, two friendly allies, and a locked garden, A Bit of Earth has everything a reader could want from a retelling of The Secret Garden. Karuna Riazi’s evocative prose is interspersed with poetic verses, illuminating each character’s search for a place they can truly call home. This tender yet incisive reimagining of a classic work will captivate fans of the original — and widen the appeal for a modern audience.