by Lauren Wolk
Dutton Children’s Books, 2016.
It’s no surprise that Wolf Hollow is a Newbery Honor Book for 2017. This story got so exciting that I finished it in one evening.
Twelve-year-old Annabelle lives on a farm in rural Pennsylvania during World War II. Her comfortable life at home and in school takes a sudden turn with the arrival of Betty Glengarry, a new student. Betty is a frightening bully, and a slick liar.
Betty’s attacks on Annabelle and others result in serious injury, but she adroitly turns the suspicions onto Toby, a reclusive war veteran. How Annabelle copes with this adversary and tries to protect her friend, Toby, makes for a story you can’t put down.
My granddaughter, who is just shy of six-and-a-half years, made these baskets on her very own sewing machine. Sure, she had help with the pattern and directions, but she put in the stitches. She worked the machine.
What an amazing skill for a young one to learn!
When I opened this gift, I was awash with tears of gratitude, pride, and admiration. Just think of being six years old and having the confidence to do this.
Praises to her parents for the guidance they provide.
We are one blessed family.
One Writer’s Life
Last week, I finished the first draft of Book IV of the Karakesh Chronicles. The story centers around twelve-year-old Demara, who is half selkie and half human. Toward the end of the book, Demara is given a baby named Bimi Lightfoot. Bimi is half faerie and half human, and therefore rejected by his faerie mother and her people.
In Book IV, Bimi is just a charming baby and a minor character. I thought I was done with him and the Chronicles, but he was not done with me. He reappeared in my mind as a badly behaved, angry nine-year-old, and began pushing me to write his story.
I am constantly amazed at how characters demand attention, and ideas appear. Most often, when I’m meditating, or doing a routine task, a scene or a phrase or a person will appear out of somewhere. I may not knowingly be seeking the next part of a story. The scene simply begins to play out on an internal screen, and I hurry to write it or make enough notes so that I can return to it later.
Book III began with a name: Simead Nair. What kind of person would have such an intriguing name, I wondered. He turned out to be a selkie with a complex personality that I could not have consciously invented.
Where do these ideas come from? I don’t know. It’s a wonderful mystery, and it makes the experience of writing into a great adventure.
The Inquisitor’s Tale Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
by Adam Gidwitz
Illuminated by Hatem Aly
Published by Dutton Children’s Books, 2016
The Inquisitor’s Tale won a Newbery Honor Medal in 2017. It was not a book I couldn’t put down. Why didn’t I love this book? It had many good reasons for me to enjoy it:
- the setting: medieval France in 1262
- many authentic people, events, and places (even ones I’d been to, like Mont St. Michel)
- a saintly dog
- three smart children
- fabulous illuminations in the margins
- magic and miracles
So I’ve been pondering why The Inquisitor’s Tale didn’t grab me. The best explanation I’ve come up with is that I didn’t care enough about the main characters or love them.
So maybe you’ll read the book and tell me how you like it.