Synopses & Reviews
A young girl makes her fractured family whole again with the help of a very special book
When eleven-year-old Ella's mother has to be hospitalized to undergo a dangerous cancer treatment, Ella spends the summer at "Broken Family Camp" with her eccentric grandmother, whom she's never met. The situation is hardly ideal for either of them. Ella is scared her mother may die, but her grandmother seems to care more about her library full of books than she does about her very own granddaughter.
But when a rare and beloved book, Kepler's Dream of the Moon, is stolen from her grandmother's amazing library, Ella and her new friend Rosie make up their minds to find it. Finding the beautiful book her grandmother loves so much could even be the key to healing Ella's broken family.
An affecting and beautifully written story of family, forgiveness and the wonder of the stars, Kepler's Dream is a sparkling and memorable debut.
"Writing as Bell, adult novelist Sylvia Brownrigg pens her first children's book, an affecting story about the complexities of family relationships and the value of imagination. Eleven-year-old Ella is spending her summer at what she calls 'Broken Family Camp' in Albuquerque with her quirky estranged grandmother, Violet Von Stern (who Ella nicknamesGM, for 'General Major'), while her mother undergoes treatment for leukemia. GM's peacock-populated property and sprawling adobe house offer an array of curiosities, but Ella feels trapped in a rigid household where even breakfast means undergoing a grammar drill. When an antiquarian book dealer and his team arrive to digitize GM's prestigious library, her prized astronomy book goes missing. Ella and her new friend Rosie form an amateur detective agency and trace the family's rocky history to recover Kepler's Dream and possibly repair damaged relationships. Ella's touching and dry-witted letters to her mother detail her adventures and lessons learned, lending the story emotional complexity without sentimentality. Despite her circumstances, Ella translates the world with a candid, sassy voice and a surprising amount of wisdom. Ages 10 up. Agent: Geri Thoma, Markson Thoma. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Utterly captivating, idiosyncratic, rich and memorable . . . not only an entertaining book but an absorbing and artful one.”—New York Times Book Review
“An impressive debut.”—Booklist, starred review
“Smart and thoughtful, the story sparkles.” —School Library Journal
"Every detail is relevant in this tightly plotted debut peopled with an unforgettable cast of characters. More family drama than mystery, the story is told in Ella’s voice—compassionate, clever, preadolescent-snarky—allowing Bell to treat weighty issues with a light touch. "--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Author
Juliet Bell lives in Berkeley, California.