Brrr! Have you seen the snowflakes coming down recently? Now that the weather outside is turning frightful, it got me thinking about things that can help make it a bit more delightful. Such as putting on your favorite fuzzy sweater. Or drinking hot chocolate in front of a cozy fire. Or reading a good book, particularly one that takes place in a different season and transports you to a different place, making you forget about the cold.
Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor
I picked up the new book Sparrow Road mainly because it takes place during the summer (though the pretty, colorful cover also helped). It’s actually the summer before seventh grade for Raine O’Rourke. Instead of being able to spend it helping out at her Grandpa Mac’s store and eating all the candy that she wants, Raine’s mom moves her to Sparrow Road, a mysterious retreat for a group of eccentric artists. Raine is upset about living in a country town where she doesn’t know anyone and curious about why her mom apparently quit her job to take a position as cook and housekeeper at Sparrow Road. To make it worse, Sparrow Road has all sorts of rules. No talking until 5 p.m. No disturbing the artists while they work. Raine is sure she will have a miserable summer.
However, as she begins to get to know the quirky artists that reside at Sparrow Road, Raine learns to see things in a different way and even begins tapping into her own undiscovered talents. As she begins to settle into the peaceful life there, Raine stumbles upon many different mysteries connected to Sparrow Road. What happened to the orphans that used to live there? Why does she get the feeling that her mom knows Viktor, the caretaker, better than she lets on? Why isn’t she allowed to go into town with her mom when she runs errands? As Raine ponders and attempts to solve these mysteries she uncovers various truths that may change her life forever. Sparrow Road is a fast, light read about family, life and love that is sure to warm your heart.
Other books taking place during the summer:
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald
As summer looms on the horizon, Judy Moody has big plans to make it a great one. In fact, thanks to her carefully drawn out diagrams, it will be the most “NOT bummer summer ever.” Her plans come to a halt as first her friends inform her they have plans and won’t be around and then her parents head off to California, leaving Judy and Stink with their unknown, dreaded Aunt Opal (quickly nicknamed Aunt Awful, of course). But when she arrives, with her long red hair, bright blue boots, and cool bracelets, Aunt Opal is nothing like Judy imagined. As Judy gears up for a summer with her wacky, artistic Aunt, an intriguing mystery about her teacher Mr. Todd, a late night stakeout, and a high-speed chase involving an ice cream truck and Bigfoot follow. This novel, based on the screenplay to the recent movie, is just as fun and funny as the previous novels in the series.
Birdsall’s first novel, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2005, tells the story of the four Penderwick sisters: responsible Rosalind, feisty Skye, dreamy Jane, and youngest Batty and their summer spent at a beautiful estate named Arundel. When the Penderwicks meet Arundel’s snooty owner Mrs. Tifton and her sensitive, musical son Jeffrey, adventure soon follows. Throw in a bull, some rabbits, and a very curious dog and you have an unforgettable summer. The Penderwicks is charming and nostalgic, witty and breezy, just like a perfect summer day.
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Tuck Everlasting tells the story of 10-year old Winnie Foster who, while literally on the run from her lonely life one August afternoon, stumbles upon a young boy drinking water from a spring at the base of a giant oak tree. The boy is Jesse Tuck, the youngest member of a family with the fortune – or misfortune – of living forever. As Winnie stays with the Tucks for a few days she learns more about their secret of eternal life and what exactly that really means.
Happy reading and stay warm!