When two boys come to spend the summer at Bird Lake, each is reeling from his own personal tragedy. Both boys arrive scarred and fragile, but as they become friends, the sharp edges of their lives smooth out and, slowly, they are able to start to heal.
Spencer thought the house might be haunted.
Mitch knew it wasn't. And he knew why.
The whole time Spencer and Mitch hung out together at Bird Lake that summer, there were secrets keeping them apart.
And maybe a secret knowledge keeping them together, tootogether like members of the same tribe. Like friends.
Olives Ocean, my last novel, was published in 2003. Since then Ive written and illustrated three picture books and two board books. All the while I was working on those books, I was thinking about Bird Lake Moon. In fact, my first notes for Bird Lake Moon are dated June 2003.
My new book revolves around two boys: Spencer Stone and Mitch Sinclair. It was Spencer and his family who came to me first. Its interesting to me now that Mitch wasnt part of the story when I began. But once he appeared in my thoughts and on the page, he became increasingly important. In its final form, the book starts with his story.
The creative process is difficult to understand, much less explain. I do know that bits and pieces of my life and of my familys life are embedded in Bird Lake Moon, as they are in all my books. And, like a person, a book grows, lives, moves forward in its own way.
After being a huge part of me for years, Bird Lake Moon is ready to find its readers. Its bittersweet to let a book go, but Im already thinking of other ones. . . .
Mitch Sinclair was slowly taking over the house, staking his claim. He had just
finished carving his initials into the underside of the wooden porch railing,
which was his boldest move so far. The other things he had done had required
much less courage. He had swept the front stoop with his grandmother's broom. He
had cleaned the decaying leaves and the puddle of murky water out of the
birdbath in the side yard and filled it with fresh water. He had spat on the huge rotting tree stump at the corner of the lot each day for the past week, marking the territory as his. And he had taken to crawling under the screened back porch during the hot afternoons; he'd lean against the brick foundation in the cool shade, imagining a different life, if, as his mother had said, their old life was over. Forever.
Although he'd seen the house many times while visiting his grandparents, Mitch had never paid much attention to it before. The house was vacant....
With sure, crystalline prose, Henkes discloses the breathless suspense that even the shortest moment can contain, and the enormous courage that loss demands. Young readers who plunge into these extraordinary interlocking stories will discover mysterious, sad, and hopeful things about themselves and the people they love.
(Reviewed by Jo Perry).
Full Review (803 words).
In Bird Lake Moon, the tragic drowning of Spencer's four-year-old brother haunts his family during their return visit to Bird Lake. As we approach the summer months, it is wise to ponder the following tragic statistics presented by the Orange County Fire Authority:
"Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths to children ages 14 and under. A temporary lapse in supervision is a common factor in most drownings and near-drownings. Child drownings can happen in a matter of seconds - in the time it takes to answer the phone. There is often no splashing to warn of trouble. . . "
Even more sobering are the following facts about how and when drownings occur:
If you liked Bird Lake Moon, try these:
New York Times Best Seller Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medalist for Moon Over Manifest, is an odyssey-like adventure of two boys' incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail where they deal with pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters.
In an extraordinary debut novel, an escaped fugitive upends everything two siblings think they know about their family, their past, and themselves.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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