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Olive's Oceanby Kevin Henkes
A 2004 Newbery Honor Book
Synopses & Reviews
A powerful novel about friendship and family that calls to mind Bridge to Terabithia
Twelve-year-old John Fischer Jr., or Little John” as hes always been known, is spending his summer helping his father with his tree removal business, clearing brush for Mr. King, the wealthy owner of a chain of Texas dollar stores, when he hears a beautiful song that transfixes him. He follows the melody and finds, not a bird, but a young girl sitting in the branches of a tall sycamore tree.
Theres something magical about this girl, Gayle, especially her soaring singing voice, and Little Johns friendship with Gayle quickly becomes the one bright spot in his life, for his home is dominated by sorrow over his sisters death and his parents ever-tightening financial difficulties.
But then Mr. King draws Little John into an impossible choice—forced to choose between his familys survival and a betrayal of Gayle that puts her future in jeopardy.
Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story, Nightingale's Nest is an unforgettable novel about a boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a girl with the gift of healing in her voice.
An unforgettable middle-grade debut that will steal your heart
Blue Gadsby’s twin sister, Iris, died three years ago and her family has never been the same. Her histrionic older sister, Flora, changes her hair color daily; her younger siblings, Jasmine and Twig, are completely obsessed with their pet rats; and both of her parents spend weeks away from home–and each other. Enter Zoran the Bosnian male au pair and Joss the troublemaking boy next door, and life for the Gadsby family takes a turn for the even more chaotic. Blue poignantly captures her family’s trials and tribulations from fragmented to fully dysfunctional to ultimately reunited, in a sequence of film transcripts and diary entries that will make you cry, laugh, and give thanks for the gift of families.
With the charm of The Penderwicks and the poignancy of When You Reach Me, Natasha Farrant's After Iris is a story that will stay with readers long after the last page.
"Olive Barstow was dead. She'd been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew."
Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they weren't — and now all that is left are eerie connections between two girls who were in the same grade at school and who both kept the same secret without knowing it.
Now Martha can't stop thinking about Olive. A family summer on Cape Cod should help banish those thoughts; instead, they seep in everywhere.
And this year Martha's routine at her beloved grandmother's beachside house is complicated by the Manning boys. Jimmy, Tate, Todd, Luke, and Leo. But especially Jimmy. What if, what if, what if, what if? The world can change in a minute.
About the Author
Kevin Henkes lives in Madison, Wisconsin. His novels include the Newbery Honor book Olive's Ocean, and The Birthday Room, Protecting Marie and Words of Stone. Among his picture books are Owen, a 1994 Caldecott Honor Book; Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse; and Julius, the Baby of the World. His latest picture book is Kitten's First Full Moon.
In His Own Words...
"I remember drawing at a very early age. I loved it. And my parents and teachers told me I was good at it — that made me love it all the more.
"I also loved books, and the ones I was lucky enough to own were reread, looked at over and over, and regarded with great respect. To me great respect' meant that I took them everywhere, and the ones I still own prove it. They're brimming with all the telltale signs of true love: dog-eared pages, fingerprints on my favorite illustrations, my name and address inscribed on both front and back covers in inch-high crayon lettering, and the faint smell of stale peanut butter on the bindings. I wondered about authors and illustrators back then — ? What did they look like? Where did they live? Did they have families? How old were they? — but I never imagined that one day I would be one myself.
"I became an author-illustrator when I was nineteen years old. I flew from my home in Racine, Wisconsin, to New York City with my portfolio, hoping to find a publisher. And magically enough Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow Books made my dream come true. My first picture book, All Alone, was published in 1987. Since then I've written and illustrated many picture books and written several novels. I like the variety of trying new ways to fill the pages between two covers. Experimenting with words and paint and ink keeps my job interesting.
"I used to live with my parents and brothers and sister and work at a card table in my bedroom. Now I live with my wife, my son, and my daughter in our own house and work at a drawing table in my own studio. I never thought I'd be lucky enough to be a real author and illustrator. I wouldn't trade it for anything."
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