See that girl in the picture? That’s Thisbe and she is in grade nine at a Vancouver high school. She’s a reader, a writer, a swimmer, a lover of carbohydrates and of her muse and cat, Fishbone. She’s smart, she’s witty – she’s Jane Austen in Birkenstocks.
How do you know if this book is for you? Let’s see… Have you ever asked yourself:
- How big is my imagination? Can I sail to the edge of it and fall off?
- How many books are inside me, waiting to get out?
- If books were on a food chain, which ones would be vegetarian?
- What if I AM a young adult novel?
This book is about identity, love, family and why it’s possible to be lost in a really bad book. It’s got rants, recipes, poems, fantasy, historical fiction, and a commercial for noodles. There’s a lot of stuff about creativity and where it comes from. And it’s about the healing powers of cheesecake.
In sum: there are no car crashes or gang fights but there is one hippie grandmother, an ear, a dragon, a broken pencil, several poems, lots of emails, one combine harvester, a forgotten potato and a great hug at Kits beach and Kidsbooks on p. 234.
I hope you like it.
But here’s the real blurb:
Thisbe is a Grade 9 student and an aspiring novelist. Her passions also include carbs, swimming and Fishbone, her cat. Thisbe is dying to share her writing with someone, but who? Her parents are away and their home has been taken over by the eccentric Granny Ed and Chutney, her evil-smelling dog. Besides, both of her parents are academics and Thisbe wants to write books that people actually read…
When Thisbe’s English teacher offers her the chance to take her writing online with students at another school, she jumps at the chance. The weeks that follow show Thisbe revelling in both her own creativity and a blossoming friendship. But there are surprises in store!
When confronted with an unpleasant truth, she takes a long, hard look at herself. What kind of writer is she? What kind of person is she? With Granny Ed’s help, and after some long swims and a few slices of medicinal cheesecake, Thisbe pulls herself back from the brink.
As she works, she explores questions about writing, publishing and audience. Thisbe’s confidence grows… and grows… and grows….. She lets go of her self-doubt and her identity as a writer becomes stronger. She also gets into yoga and finds that standing on her head with a bunch of grannies isn’t so bad after all!
Are you a writer? This story will inspire and motivate you to work on YOUR stuff.
The fastest way to get your copy of The Kingdom of Strange: go get it! (Amazon Kindle promotional pricing)
- Rating: Excellent. Children’s Book & Play Review Brigham Young University / Harold B. Lee Digital Library Collection.
- Average rating on GoodReads: 3.74 out of 5, from 31 reviewers. Four star review here.
- Bildungsroman blog, where I was interviewed by Little Willow.
- Getting Started in Children’s Books: Panel discussion at the Vancouver Public Library, March 8, 2010.
- The kingdom of words: an interview I gave to the Jewish Independent in 2008.