Synopses & Reviews
A Bird on Water Street is a coming of age story about Jack, the son of a miner growing up in a Southern Appalachian town environmentally devastated by a century of poor copper-mining practices. After a tragic accident and a massive company layoff, the miners go on strike. When nature begins to flourish as a result, Jack fights to protect it, but the cost could be the ruin of everything he loves.
"Historic photographs and an author's note round out a tender story of families and friendships against the backdrop of harsh economic conditions. Hand this quiet tale to fans of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Barbara O'Connor." School Library Journal
"Also the author and illustrator of numerous children's books, Dulemba ably captures the scarred community in grief and celebration. The languid, episodic plot includes a mining accident, mass layoffs, a bluegrass gathering, holidays, weather events, a funeral, and other moments that underscore the close-knit nature of a place dominated by one employer. Tensions between employees and management are briefly touched on, as well." ForeWord Book Reviews
"A little known but important chapter in United States history springs to life in A Bird on Water Street. In this heartfelt story about a boy who loved nature in a place where not even insects could exist, Elizabeth Dulemba gives a sympathetic inside view of the lives of the families who worked in the mines that poisoned both themselves and their environment. As big-hearted and joyful as it is sobering, this book should be required reading for students studying the impact of man upon the environment and how nature can make a comeback when given a chance. I will never take a sparrow — or bugs — for granted again." Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe
"Hard scrabble living was never so enticing. In A Bird on Water Street, Dulemba seamlessly melds a coming of age story to the reality of life in a single industry town. A book that makes the leap from one era to another with ease."
Betsy Bird, New York Public Library Youth Materials Specialist, author of Giant Dance Party and the blog Fuse #8
"A Bird on Water Street is a riveting look at life in a copper-mining Tennessee town where nature has been savaged into a moonscape and where the air sometimes burns holes through laundry left on the line. Jack leaps off the page as a boy determined to keep his father safe from the mines and bring living things back to his beloved hometown before they all — just like the trees — disappear forever. A fascinating, important read."
Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra's Moon and Anubis Speaks!
"A Bird on Water Street is a warm-hearted, lovingly researched story, full of rich detail. Thirteen year old Jack Hicks, who wants to bring the forest back to his home town, blighted by copper mining, is a truly engaging narrator."
Susan Gates, author of over 100 titles including The Monster in the Mudball
Thirteen-year-old Jack Hicks loves everything about Coppertown his family and friends, barbecues and Friday music nights, and his best friend s beautiful sister, Hannah. Everything, that is, except for what keeps the community thriving and drove out nature long ago mining. Living in a treeless landscape that looks like the moon, he yearns to see bugs and birds and frogs outside of books.
Jack hates the mine where so many of his relatives have died, but how can he tell that to his dad, who wants him to follow in the family trade?
When the miners strike, Jack is thrilled that green and growing things at last have a chance to return to the red hills. But when that same strike threatens to close the mine and force people to leave Coppertown for new homes and jobs, Jack finds himself struggling to hold on to everything he loves most."
About the Author
Elizabeth O. Dulemba is an award-winning children's book author/illustrator with 16 titles to her credit. She loves to give back to the community that supports her as Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Alabama, Georgia, and Florida panhandle region and as a Board Member for the Georgia Center for the Book. She is Visiting associate Professor for Design in the “Certificate in Children's Book Illustration” program at Hollins University and teaches writing and illustration at various venues along with speaking regularly at schools, festivals, and events. Her latest books are The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia (Sterling) and Lula's Brew (Xist Publishing). Her weekly "Coloring Page Tuesday" images (free on her blog for parents, teachers and librarians) garner around a million hits to her website annually and she has over 3,000 subscribers to her newsletter. She lives in Atlanta with Stan (her husband), Bernie (the neurotic dog), and Bootsie (the bossy cat). And while she loves eating at all the great restaurants and bimbling about in the big city, she cant stay away from the Southern Appalachians for long. Visit her at http://dulemba.com.