Synopses & Reviews
In the fight with the truck barreling toward them, Wenny and Will lost big. Wenny lost her life. Will lost a sister -- and lost faith in himself. andlt;BRandgt; But then Will starts writing letters to Wenny. He tells her all about the secret of his near-death experience, and the troubles he's having at home. Some letters are funny. Some letters are harsh. And when read together, they tell the story of a boy who finds a way to move past death and learns how to live again....
"Carey (Molly's Fire) brings a new approach to a familiar story line in this often heartrending novel, conveyed as a series of letters written by 11-year-old Will to his younger sister, who was killed in an accident that Will only barely survived. Will begins by relating his near-death experience and the peace he felt when he and Wenny were zooming around up there in that bright light. But Will's attempts to talk about that experience are waylaid by misunderstandings with his parents and by his father's deepening depression. As he tries to deal with the loss, grief and guilt with being stuck down here on the outside of heaven Will also feels comforted by his certainty of Wenny's happy afterlife. While Carey sometimes strikes an overly sentimental chord, her characterizations are generally precise and poignant in their accuracy. For example, Will teams up with a classmate to try contacting Wenny via séances and helium balloons; elsewhere, he doesn't understand why his mother gets so upset when he bakes a cake for Wenny's birthday. The unusual trim size (5" x 6.5") may help attract readers attention, and the intriguing and well-developed premise will likely sustain it. Ages 8-12. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
andlt;Iandgt;Kirkus Reviewsandlt;/Iandgt; A heartrending glimpse into what happens in a family when a child dies.
A heartrending glimpse into what happens in a family when a child dies.
Philadelphia Inquirer Affecting.
Publishers Weekly Poignant.
Children's Bookwatch Highly recommended.
andlt;Iandgt;Philadelphia Inquirerandlt;/Iandgt; Affecting.
andlt;Iandgt;Publishers Weeklyandlt;/Iandgt; Poignant.
andlt;Iandgt;Children's Bookwatchandlt;/Iandgt; Highly recommended.
Will North and his little sister Wenny both die when they are hit by a truck, but he is pulled back into life. Will blames himself for Wenny's death--and he is furious with Wenny for leaving him behind. Will's pastor tells him that when he's angry, he writes letters to God, but Will decides he'd rather write letters to Wenny. So he does, in a touching, funny, and honest correspondence.
Reading Group Guide
ABOUT THE BOOK
Having had a near-death experience in the accident that killed his younger sister Wenny, eleven-year-old Will tries to cope with the situation by writing her letters that are in turn humorous, informative, angry, and finally an honest realization of life's twists and turns.
Family; Death; Letter writing; Afterlife; Brothers and sisters
From what Will writes to Wenny, what kind of person do you think she was? How do her parents remember her? Are these memories changed because Wenny is dead? Why do Will's parents become so upset when he wants to make Wenny a birthday cake or when he is in her room?
When Will tries to tell the adults about the light and tunnel, how do they react? Why do you think they did and said the things they did to Will? If you had a friend who had a near-death experience, what do you think you would say to them?
Do you believe that near-death experiences really happen? If a situation similar to this were to happen to you, would you tell anyone? Why or why not?
Visit the author's website (www.janetleecarey.com), click on "Teachers/Librarians," and read Carey's description of the Child Hero. Use the website questions to explore Will's situation.
Choose either a book character that has died or even a real person and keep a journal of letters to this character or person.
Have a tarantula as a class pet or bring in an expert to show and discuss its care.
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Lesa Dierking
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.