A historical fantasy adventure written for high-school-age children and older, A Crack in the Sea (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2017) follows the journeys of three pairs of siblings who meet through a magical portal in the sea that delivers them to the Second World.

Author Heather (H.M.) Bouwman ’90 shares the stories of the siblings: Pip and Kinchen, inhabitants of the Second World; Venus and Swimmer, twins aboard the British slave ship Zong, bound for Jamaica in 1781; and Thanh and Sang, attempting to escape war-torn Vietnam in 1978.

While an exciting tale of sea monsters, pirate attacks and shark-infested waters, the book has a central message: the call to care for one’s neighbors near and far.

A fantasy novel “can ask us to consider alternatives and possibilities,” writes Bouwman. “What if we lived in a world where people didn’t die in chains, where people didn’t drown trying to escape from war and persecution, where somehow love, like magical water, surrounded us whenever most needed and held us up?

“The truth is we do live in a world where these things are possible. We simply have to choose to make them happen.”