Little is known about the fifteenth-century Persian painter Bizhad - we only know he worked in what is now Afghanistan and Iran and that he was the first artist to sign his works. "Jackal in the Garden" imagines Bizhad as an astoundingly gifted dreamer and contrasts him with a strong female protagonist, Anubis, born disfigured into her father's harem. She must fight for survival - which leads her to Bizhad and the colony he leads. Both philosophers, they find common ground. Yet their different attitudes offer a sharp, unusual commentary on life, survival and art that will resonate with young adult readers seeking their place in the world.
Deborah Ellis is also the author of several books and has been the recipient of many Canadian awards for her writing.