Book Review: Hope and Fortune by Marissa Banez

After a long hiatus in writing, I am thrilled to start 2023 posts with a book review (and giveaway). At this point, normally, I avoid children’s books because we, as a family has outgrown it. Let’s face it, Child 4 is now turning 14. Yikes! This book by Marissa Banez is quite special to me so I decided to be a part of the Women in Writing Book Tour.

Book Summary

Hope and Fortune is a modern-day fairy tale featuring multicultural, multiracial (eg. Filipino, African American, Latina, Asian, Muslim, etc) multigenerational, and multigender (including a boy) fairies of different shapes and sizes who help a sad little child who has lost her way to find her path. Each fairy represents and ideal – Hope, Innocence and Wonder, Truth and Virtue, Generosity and Kindness, Strength and Courage, Respect and Dignity, Confidence, Imagination, Happiness, Beauty, Wisdom and Intelligence, and Love and Friendship. Although the protagonist is a little girl, the life advice given by the fairies is no-gender-specific and could resonate with anyone facing a difficult situation at any point in his/her/their life.

About the Author

A first-generation immigrant to the US from the Philippines, Marissa Banez is a graduate of Princeton University and a lawyer licensed to practice in New York, California and New Jersey. She has published legal articles for the prestigious New York Law Journal and the American Bar Association, but her true passion is in her children’s stories. She currently lives in New York with her husband and daughter, whose childhood is filled with many original stories and puppet shows made up entirely by her mom. In her free time, Marissa likes to travel, design and make clothes, cook, binge-watch Star Trek shows and Korean dramas, and occasionally strum a guitar.

She is currently working on her second book, Hues and Harmony (How the Singing Rainbow Butterfly Got Her Colors), a story about mixed or multiracial children, self-discovery and respect for others as told through the life and adventures of a caterpillar. It is scheduled for publication on July 20, 2023.

The Review

Before I talk about the story, I would like to emphasize that this book already meant so much to me the moment I found out the author’s background. As a first generation American mom with Filipino roots, I struggled to find children’s books that my kids can readily relate to when they were younger. I remembered the time when the very few Asian theme books in our library were all about Chinese New Year or a Chinese child being adopted by Caucasian parents. To be able to bridge the gap, I asked my mom to send me children’s books from the Philippines which most of the time were already written in English with a direct Tagalog translation.

This book is a testament that we have come a long way not just in terms of Filipino representation but the acceptance of different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicity.

About book, the story line is simple. A girl lost in the forest and was able to find her path back with the help of different fairies. While it may sound simple, the author did a great job picking the right words to make the message of each fairy concise, direct and meaningful. Each virtue/fairy has about five to six short sentences which is appropriate for small children to understand yet deep enough for adults to reflect on.

The illustration is a work of art. Calling it stunning is an understatement. The color and images are vivid and almost like an animated show. Everything in this book is well thought of and meticulously created. From the message to the characters to the graphics, it shows not only diversity but most of all, love.

The Giveaway

I’m sure I already stirred your curiosity. So, here’s a little treat. One lucky US based reader will get a printed copy of the book Hope and Fortune. All you have to do is click the link below and follow the steps to enter. Hurry, giveaway ends on March 3, 2023, 11:59 pm EST. Good luck!


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