Meet Authors & Illustrators

Nancy Farmer

   What a fabulous experience I had thanks to my friend and colleague Edie Ching who is the lower school librarian at the St. Albans School. She invited me to a luncheon with Nancy Farmer. Nancy was there to make a presentation to the students.

   Not many people can say they grew up in a motel, but Nancy did just that in a little town in Arizona near the Mexican border. The family is talented and a bit eccentric. She has a brother who was able to read at the age of three and also to play the piano. However, the two sisters (Nancy includes herself) were not as precocious. Her sister was six years older and she was the one who taught Nancy to read. Her brother is now a scientist and Nancy regaled her luncheon companions with a series of vignettes from her formative years.

   Her brother earned money as a kid raising scorpions. Their mother would make Nancy take the ones she found in the house outside to set them free because she didn't believe in killing them. Her brother, on the other hand, would collect the scorpions and sell them to a lab for twenty-five cents each. Nancy herself learned to milk a scorpion. The poison is used to make antitoxins. Then, she started raising black widow spiders, but no one had told her that they ate each other. She tried raising other types of spiders and the house always seemed to be full of them. She remembers hiding one of her projects behind the toilet and all of the baby spiders ran away and hid in the floor and ceiling cracks. For months while sitting on the toilet she would see spiders coming down from the ceiling on their silken threads.

   Her sister was a sweet girl, but she didn't like furry things or crawly things (not the family to be born into). She had long black hair that she would dry outside the house. June bugs, Nancy discovered make a horrible buzzing sound and create a sticky substance. Well you can imagine what she did with that knowledge. Nancy says that her sister was very forgiving. Also, her grandpa was quite a character. He was against trick-or-treaters and would sit on the front porch with a shotgun, which he would fire over the heads of any kids in costume who came near the house. Today of course that sort of behavior would probably land him in jail. Her mother had a way of controlling the young kids. She would put them in a "chicken coop" or a "kiddie coop." Nancy didn't care for it and was always looking for ways to escape. As a girl Nancy was afraid of lightening. Once her grandmother stood on a table with the wind whipping through her hair and defied God to strike her with lightening. (That must have really made an impression on a young girl.)

   After life at the motel, the family moved to Yuma which was supposed to be more of a resort area to manage a hotel. However, there were crickets, dust storms and Yuma it turned out was a tough town--not exactly a resort paradise. At the age of nine Nancy was working the hotel desk. She rented rooms, and kept the books. She even learned that crickets have three types of chirps (I am here, Get out of my way or I'll kill you, and Hey baby!).The prison there was known as the toughest prison in the West. When they closed the prison, it was converted into the local high school.

   Nancy married and had a son. Her husband is a poet who is now working on his first adult novel. He managed to get a fellowship, but it really was not sufficient for the three of them. She went to Palo Alto and had 30 days to find a place to live and a job. Finally she succeeded in finding a place within walking distance of Stanford. She talked the landlord into accepting her as a tenant even though they didn't allow children. She said she used the Christian approach-"would you turn away baby Jesus?"

   When asked why she choose to go to Africa? Nancy replied that she was in search of romance and adventure. She had a $500 ticket on a freighter and found a job with an entomologist. (Nancy does have a degree in entomology.) Sadly, times have changed in Africa and when she recently returned to her friends and family, she realized that life had become dangerous and unpleasant. Her comment was that "Africa seems to be on a meltdown." Zimbabwe is no longer safe and she was not very optimistic about the future.

   She spoke of her earlier years and recounted how she had arrived in Africa in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) after the war had ended. The border area was still rough and travel was difficult. When she and her traveling companions were close to Rhodesia, the black passengers would lie down so as not to be seen and when near the other side, they would stand up and the white passengers would lie down. She commented that the Portuguese had drawn marks to show the land mines. One could hop across a minefield in the elephant footprints and this vivid memory is a scene readers may recall from her book A Girl Named Disaster. Nancy told of other hair-raising incidents such as the time that her guides were trying to fish and they found a bag of hand grenades and were using them to play catch. They didn't know what they were.

   Nancy really didn't start writing until she reached her forties. While in Zimbabwe, she was responsible for creating a variety of early readers for African schoolchildren. Her first book published in the US was So You Know Me. She sent the manuscript to Richard Jackson and he asked her for a rewrite. She really wasn't an experienced writer and was surprised when he called her and said that she was lazy and asked if she knew what a real rewrite was. She followed his guidance and has followed him around as he has moved to different publishing houses.

   As to her method of working, she stated that she does not prepare an outline. Nancy knows the beginning and end of her story and then works on developing the middle. Occasionally she even dreams scenes. Nancy does undertakes research. For example, when working on House of the Scorpion, she bought some dried opium poppies and grew plants from the seeds. She learned that they need lots of sunlight and she also learned the life cycle of the plant. Also, the smell of opium (cinnamon) is described in the book. In addition to research, Nancy was also interested in learning what kids in her country wanted to read. She visited a secondhand bookstore in Harare and noted that the best sellers were science fiction. Her goal was to write one set in the native culture-hence The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm.

   Having written several books set in Africa, Nancy has lately been intrigued by Norse mythology. Her latest book is entitled The Sea of Trolls and it is set in the 9th century and came out in the fall of 2004. Already she has a sequel in the works about the berserkers-the shock troops. It was apparently a hereditary position among the Vikings. And also the result of drugs (bog myrtle) which when brewed and drunk causes hallucinations. There were women berserkers, and Nancy has undertaken research including using the Internet to find out about the berserkers and Norse mythology.

   I asked her if she used the internet for e-mail or had a web site. She said no, because she feared that the volume of inquiries would overwhelm her and not allow her to spend time on her craft. By the same token, she really wasn't interested in doing school visits; she considers herself to be a reclusive person. However in 2004 and 2005 she is booking visits because it is a good way to earn money and promote her books.

   Nancy confessed that she cannot read novels while she is working on one of her own, nor can she read nonfiction-writing just seem to be all consuming and she becomes totally immersed in the character. She completes crossword puzzles to get a little downtime.

   For more information on Nancy Farmer and her books, please visit her website

Contributor: Marilyn Courtot

 

Reviews

Casey Jones's Fireman: The Story of Sim Webb
Nancy Farmer
Pictures by James Bernardin
   Everyone has heard the story of Casey Jones, the famous train engineer who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad in the late 1890's. Casey Jones--and the fateful night his train jumped the tracks--has inspired countless songs and stories. But who what about Sim Webb, the man who shoveled coal into the boiler that powered Casey's mighty steam engine? This beautifully illustrated, hard back picture book recounts Casey Jones' train wreck through Sim's eyes. Mythic language and atmospheric paintings give such historical fiction an air of mystery. So does the appearance of a sinister gentleman, who offers Casey a golden steam whistle so melodious that its sound can "rattle the pearly gates." Will Sim stop Casey from using it before it dooms not only the train, but the world? Young readers will enjoy finding out. 1999, Phyllis Fogelman Books/Dial Books for Young Readers, $15.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree (Children's Literature).
   Back in the glory days of steam engines and of the legendary Casey Jones, young Sim Webb tells us how he rose to be Jones's fireman, a major accomplishment for an African American in 1895. Around the famous train wreck, when Jones died saving the lives of passengers, Farmer weaves a tale of a sinister stranger and a golden train whistle which may have helped bring about the disaster. We learn a lot about the engines as we read the suspenseful story. And the illustrator's full page, naturalistic paintings add more information, providing considerable details of the locomotives, the cab and furnace, the mysterious whistle, and the characters themselves. The two major figures are depicted on the cover as sturdy men with confident, convincing smiles. But the end-paper's scene of the train crossing a bridge is bathed in an orange-purple light, its empty windows glowing with a mystic, almost fiery brilliance, presaging melodrama. An author's note adds useful information. 1999, Phyllis Fogelman Books/Dial Books for Young Readers, $15.99. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
   Casey Jones is the focus of many tales and songs, but his lesser-known African-American fireman is the viewpoint character in Farmer's fictional flight of fancy. Casey Jones, "the best engineer in the country," prides himself on his speed but Sim, a man of strong intuitions, is suspicious when a mysterious red-haired stranger offers Casey a whistle more powerful than any known. He worries when Casey, bent on building up the speed needed to blow the whistle, urges Sim to "lay on more coal." Sim, who warns against the dangers of this recklessness, sees a train rushing at them, and manages to throw himself from the doomed train as Casey dies in a wreck that avoids collision and spares the lives of all aboard. The story's imagery and details revive 19th century railroad life and the afterword points up the amazing feats of a black man who makes his mark in history despite difficulties of advancement. 1999, Phyllis Fogelman, $15.99. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Susie Wilde (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2000; Bank Street College of Education; United States
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, September 1999; Cahners; United States
ISBN: 0-8037-1929-9

Do You Know Me
Nancy Farmer; illustrated by Shelley Jackson
   Uncle Zeka changed everything. Tapiwa was not particularly happy with her life until her poor uncle from Mozambique arrives in a police car at their doorstep in Harare. Tapiwa was the poorest but smartest girl in her private school. Snubbed by the others, she had no friends to share her days with. Uncle Zeka who knew nothing about city ways tries to make himself useful, but more often than not he and Tapiwa get themselves into a muddle. The close knit family, social classification and native lore are all intertwined in this comic tale told by a real storyteller. 1994 (orig. 1993), Puffin, $3.99. Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-531-05474-8
ISBN: 0-531-08624-0
ISBN: 0-14-036946-5

The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm: A Novel
Nancy Farmer
   Set in the future in Zimbabwe, Tendai and her siblings are kidnapped off the streets of Harare. Hot on their trail are three unusual detectives each with a unique ability--hearing, sight, and insight. A fast paced, adventure with lots of suspense and plot twists to keep readers fully engrossed, this heroic myth based on the Shona culture is hard to put down. A Newbery Honor Book. 1994, Orchard, $18.95, $19.99 and $4.99. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
   When the three children of General Amadeus Matsika connive their way out of their high-security home, they are looking for change and excitement. They find it, but the ordeal of being kidnapped provides more than they had expected. Moving from an ancient toxic waste dump, to Resthaven, where people attempt to live in the ways of long ago, to the hideout of a powerful street gang in the Mile-High MacIlwaine Hotel, the children are always one step ahead of the trio of mutant detectives--the Ear, the Eye, and the Arm--who are following their trail in the hopes of rescuing them. Set in Zimbabwe in the year 2194, this complex, action-filled adventure of the future combines elements of science fiction with Shona mythology and a running sense of humor. Honor Book, 1994 CCBC Newbery Award Discussion. CCBC categories: Fiction For Children; Fiction For Teenagers. 1994, A Richard Jackson Book / Orchard, 311 pages, $18.95. Ages 10-14. Reviewer: CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1994).
Best Books:
   Best of the Best Revisited (100 Best Books for Teens), 2001; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
   Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 1997; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
   Best Books for Young Adults, 1995; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
   Books in the Middle: Outstanding Books, 1994; Voice of Youth Advocates; United States
   Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 1994; Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books; United States
   Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001; H.W. Wilson; United States
   Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000; H.W. Wilson; United States
   Notable Books for Children, 1994; American Library Association-ALSC; United States
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, April 1994; Cahners; United States
   School Library Journal: Best Books for Young Adults, 1994; Cahners; United States
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
   John Newbery Medal Honor Book 1995 United States
   Virginia Young Readers Program Winner 1998 Middle School Virginia
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
   Maine Student Book Award, 1995-1996; Nominee; Maine
ISBN: 0-531-06829-3
ISBN: 0-531-08679-8

A Girl Named Disaster
Nancy Farmer
   Nhamo, whose name means "disaster," runs away from her village in Mozambique to escape marriage to an abusive man. On the advice of her grandmother, the frightened but desperate young girl takes a boat down the river toward Zimbabwe in search of her father. Stranded on a island, she must struggle to survive, facing hunger and wild animals, but the spirits of her mother and others help her to eventually build a new boat and complete her voyage. Nhamo is a wonderful character, as brave and intrepid as Brian in Hatchet or Zia of Island of the Blue Dolphins. She's got a wry sense of humor that helps her through her ordeals, along with her faith in the spirits that assist her. Her age (from 11-14 over the course of the book) should not restrict the readership to younger YAs alone: Nhamo is old for her years in many ways. This is an exotic and enthralling survival and coming-of-age story, as well as a glimpse into the complex culture of the Shona, Nhamo's tribe. At the end there's a glossary of the many Shona words used, a history and description of the peoples of Zimbabwe and Mozambique through 1981, when Nhamo's journey takes place, and an explanation of the belief system of the Shona. A 1997 Newbery Honor Book, and an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for YAs. KLIATT Codes: JS*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1996, Penguin/Puffin, 310p. map. bibliog. 20cm. 97-28173, $4.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick (KLIATT Review, March 1998 (Vol. 32, No. 2))
Best Books:
   Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for Pre-K--Grade 6, 12th Edition, 1999; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
   Best Books for Young Adults, 1997; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
   Best Books for Young Adults, 1997 Top Ten; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
   Best of the Best Revisited (100 Best Books for Teens), 2001; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
   Books in the Middle: Outstanding Books, 1996; Voice of Youth Advocates; United States
   Capitol Choices, 1996; The Capitol Choices Committee; United States
   Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001; H.W. Wilson; United States
   The Children's Literature Choice List, 1997; Children's Literature; United States
   Kaleidoscope, A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8, Third Edition, 2001; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
   Fanfare Honor List, 1996; Horn Book; United States
   Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000; H.W. Wilson; United States
   Not Just for Children Anymore!, 1999; Children's Book Council; United States
   Not Just for Children Anymore!, 2000; Children's Book Council; United States
   Notable Books for Children, 1997; American Library Association-ALSC; United States
   Notable Books for Children, 1996; American Library Association-ALSC; United States
   Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 1996; Cahners; United States
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, October 1996; Cahners; United States
   Publishers Weekly, The Cuffies: Children's Booksellers Choose Their Favorite (and not-so-favorite) Books of the Year, 1996; Cahners; United States
   Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002; California Department of Education; California
   School Library Journal Book Review Stars, October 1996; Cahners; United States
   School Library Journal: Best Books, 1997; Cahners; United States
   School Library Journal: Best Books for Young Adults, 1996; Cahners; United States
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
   Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Awards Winner 1997 United States
   John Newbery Medal Honor Book 1997 United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
   Georgia Children's Literature Awards, 2000; Nominee; Georgia
   Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 1999; Nominee; Kentucky
   Maine Student Book Award, 1997-1998; Nominee; Maine
ISBN: 0-14-038635-1

The House of the Scorpion
Nancy Farmer
   Even the book's format begins with a difference that cues you into the foreign futuristic world it portrays. Chapters are arranged oddly; Youth covers 0-6 and Middle Age is 7-11. Family trees and cast lists do little to help in the beginning, though referral to them makes sense all the way along. And then the story begins with an embryo planted in a cow, a young child kept apart. It is all so confusing and it should be, for Farmer has dropped us into a futuristic world that is so cruel it needs to be revealed only bit by bit. Matt is the main character, the beloved protected by an older cook, Celia, who refers to him as mi vida. But she can't always care for him and cruelty lurks around every corner. When he comes out of hiding he is kept like an animal in a straw room, until his presence is revealed to El Patron, a powerful drug lord. Matt comes to discover that he is the ancient man's clone, Matteo Alacran. Bit by bit the favored boy discovers that, at birth, most clones become "eejits," a person or animal with an implant in its head. Matt is lucky enough to have the care of Tam Lin, an ex-revolutionary who, we discover later, has fled capture to work for El Patron. Matt is determined to escape his clone stereotype. He is brilliant and musical and decides "he would excel, and then everyone would love him and forget he was a clone." Would it were so! It becomes clear that the ancient El Patron at 130 is failing and "he seemed dark and dangerous, like a creature you might stumble on in the middle of the night." Matt is not favored for any of his gifts. He finally learns the truth. "You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her. You were harvested. She was sacrificed. That's the term they use when they kill a poor lab animal. Your stepmother was turned into ruddy T-bone steaks." Finally, Matt escapes across the boarder to what he hopes is a kinder world. It is little better. Farmer's future world has little gentleness. The second land is less developed than the first, but together these worlds provide a chilling picture. 2002, Atheneum, $17.95. Ages 11 up. Reviewer: Susie Wilde (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Best Books for Young Adults, 2003 Top Ten; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
   Capitol Choices, 2002; The Capitol Choices Committee; United States
   The Children's Literature Choice List, 2002; Children's Literature; United States Choices, 2003; Cooperative Children's Book Center; United States
   Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 2002; American Library Association-Booklist; United States
   Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Supplement to the Eighth Edition, 2003; H.W. Wilson; United States
   Notable Children's Books, 2003; American Library Association-ALSC; United States
   Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 2002; Cahners; United States
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, July 1, 2002; Cahners; United States
   Senior High School Library Catalog, Sixteenth Edition, 2003 Supplement, 2003; H.W. Wilson; United States
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
   ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Awards Winner 2003 Young Adults United States
   Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Awards Winner 2003 United States
   John Newbery Medal Honor Book 2003 United States
   Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book 2003 United States
   Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature Finalist 2003 United States
   National Book Awards Winner 2002 Young People's Literature United States
   Parent's Choice Award Recommended 2002 Fiction United States
   Thumbs Up! Award Honor Book 2003 United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
   Beehive Award, 2003-2004; Nominee; Utah
   Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, 2003-2004; Nominee; Colorado
   Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, 2003-2004; Nominee; Vermont
   Great Lakes Great Book Award, 2004; Nominee; Michigan
   Tayshas High School Reading List, 2003-2004; Nominee; Texas
ISBN: 0-689-85222-3

Runnery Granary
Nancy Farmer
Pictures by Jos. A. Smith
   Farmer's original tale of the Runnerys, Mr. and Mrs., and their daughters Valery and Hillary, is funny and child-friendly, with just enough suspense to keep the pages turning. Smith's watercolor illustrations add warmth and character. Wizened Granny Runnery, curling her toes by the fire, is a joy to behold! Because, of course, it's Granny who solves the mystery of the strange happenings in the Runnery's granary. The text reads easily and the play on words makes it lots of fun to read aloud. 1996, Greenwillow, $15.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami (Children's Literature).
   What can infiltrate a stone granary to eat the grain? Weevils? Rats? Wolves? Whatever it is terrifies the spiders, cats, all who try to help. Only Old Granny Runnery knows who it is in this fresh and original tale. Granny's hilarious solutions to catch the nasty culprits will tickle your funnybone. The art is as spirited as the story. Can hiccups, honey and hair really catch the culprit? 1996, Greenwillow, $15.00. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Jan Lieberman (Children's Literature)
Best Books:
   Smithsonian Magazine's Notable Books for Children, 1996; Smithsonian; United States
ISBN: 0-688-14187-0
ISBN: 0-688-14188-9

The Sea of Trolls
Nancy Farmer
   Jack is sure that his life is going to change when the Bard takes him as an apprentice. Until then, Jack lived with his parents and his younger sister Lilly in a Saxon village. The Bard begins to instruct Jack in the use of magic, but before Jack can learn anything in depth, the beserkers invade his village. The Bard's mind leaves him during a magical attack, and Jack and his sister are captured by Olaf One-Brow and his warriors. The female warrior Thorgil takes Lily as a prize, and ends up offering her to Queen Frith. Frith is a half-troll, and Jack accidentally breaks through the magic that provides her beauty. She will sacrifice Lily to Freya's Fen (a deep swamp) if Jack, Olaf, and Thorgil cannot find the magic to return her beauty. During the journey, Jack learns to respect these wild warriors, even the violent Thorgil. He also learns more about his own magic skills. The characters in this book are some of the most vivid to ever appear in historical fantasy: from the sympathetic Jack, the childish but enchanting Lily, the fierce Olaf, and the complex Thorgil. Farmer has quite a reputation to live up to as a three-time Newbury honoree and she does not disappoint with her latest novel. 2004, Simon and Schuster, $17.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Amie Rose Rotruck (Children's Literature).

   Old world charm combined with richly detailed mythology makes for a lengthy but satisfying adventure. Those who like their tales told in a hurry will be disappointed. This is a story with many layers of emotion and depth. The year is A.D. 793 along the coast of the North Sea. Eleven-year-old Jack knows life only as a simple farm boy. His deeply religious father expects perfection from a son and when Jack falls short, his rebukes are forthcoming. The family is surprised when a Druid Bard asks to take Jack as an apprentice. An apprentice needs to have courage, skill, wit, and intelligence; something Jack didn't know he possessed. He quickly discovers there is much to learn about life and a supernatural power known as the life force. His apprenticeship had just begun when he and little sister Lucy are captured by bloodthirsty Thorgil and Olaf One-Brow, a giant driving his ship of beserkers on a raid across coastal towns. The saga unfolds making this novel a delicious blend of Scandinavian folklore and a complex magical world of dragons, trolls, giant spiders, troll beasts and much more. It is worthy of a second reading so you can absorb the intricate details provided by masterful storytelling. 2005, Simon & Schuster, $17.95. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Robyn Gioia (Children's Literature).

   Eleven-year-old Jack is the Saxon son of a crippled father and is in training to a Bard from who he is learning magic. Enter the "bersekers," a killing-hungry band of Northmen, who pillage his village and capture Jack and his pretty, spoiled young sister, Lucy. Each character and setting is so fully developed that the book is almost cinematic. From the small Saxon village to the glacial palace of the trolls, Farmer uses sensory detail to breathe reality into every segment of this book and each setting flows easily into the next. You believe the Viking ship with its "trackless waste" of "unending water" and leaden sky as well as the idyllic little valley with a chuckling warm stream and ground covered with tiny mountain strawberries. Farmer does just as well with characters. We get to know them gradually through Jack's eyes and their own actions and gradually, each escapes the stereotype Jack--and readers--first assume. Even more impressive is the way Farmer has researched the story, described different cultures and mixed them together into a powerful tale. Norse myth, the story of Grendel, the monastic life, troll and dragon lore, historical persons and events are all woven together into a spectacular story of magical adventure. 2004, Simon and Schuster, $17.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Susie Wilde (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
•Best Books, 2004; Washington Post Book World; United States
•Best Books for Young Adults, 2005; American Library Association YALSA; United States
•Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004; Bank Street College of Education; United States
•Capitol Choices, 2005; The Capitol Choices Committee; United States
•The Children's Literature Choice List, 2005; Children's Literature; United States
•Choices, 2005; Cooperative Children's Book Center
•Fanfare Honor List, 2004; Horn Book; United States
•Kirkus Book Review Stars, September 15, 2004; United States
•Notable Children's Books, 2005; American Library Association ALSC; United States
•Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books , 2004; Cahners; United States
•Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, July 19, 2004; Cahners; United States
•School Library Journal Book Review Stars, October 2004; Cahners; United States
•School Library Journal: Best Books, 2004; Cahners; United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
•Great Lakes Great Books Award, 2005-2006; Nominee; Grades 4-5; Michigan
ISBN: 0-689-03666-3

The Warm Place
Nancy Farmer
   During her seventeen years in Africa, Farmer picked up plenty of the local lore and also has a natural talent for telling stories. In this tale the animals talk and a human boy is able to communicate. Ruva, a baby giraffe was caught by poachers and taken from her home in Africa. With the help of Rodentus and a strange collection of animals, they survive harrowing adventures to once again arrive home. Like her other books The Ear, the Eye and the Arm and A Girl named Disaster, Farmer keeps readers turning the pages to find out what could possibly happen next. Humor and high adventure for middle grade readers. 1996 (orig. 1995), Puffin, $3.99. Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature)
Best Books:
   Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000; H.W. Wilson; United States
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, March 1995; Cahners; United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
   Maine Student Book Award, 1996-1997; Nominee; Maine
ISBN: 0-531-06888-9
ISBN: 0-531-08738-7
ISBN: 0-14-037956-8

 

Updated 05/05/05

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If you're interested in reviewing children's and young adult books, then send a resume and writing sample to marilyn@childrenslit.com.

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