Today’s pick: Flyaway by Lucy Christopher
The Chicken House, 2010
From the Publisher:While visiting her father in hospital, 13-year-old Isla meets Harry, the first boy to understand her and her love of the outdoors.
But Harry is ill, and as his health fails, Isla is determined to help him in the only way she knows how.Together they watch a lone swan struggling to fly on the lake outside Harry’s window. Isla believes that if she can help the damaged swan, somehow she can help Harry. And in doing so, she embarks upon a breathtakingly magical journey of her own.
My Take:This is a lovely story of family and friendship. Isla has a special tradition of watching the whooping swan migration with her father. But this year, everything goes wrong. The swans are disturbed by a new power plant and one becomes separated from its flock. Then Isla’s father has a heart attack. While visiting him in the hospital, Isla meets a boy her age, Harry, a cancer patient waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Isla and Harry watch the lone swan from the window of Harry’s hospital room, and together they plan to reunite the swan with its flock.
I got very wrapped up in the story with Isla and her worries. I loved the details about Isla’s unusual art project and her uncertain relationship with her gruff grandfather. As a writer, I would read this story again to study how the author created such rich and defined characters that all have realistic emotions and reactions.
Other Info:Lucy Christopher begins her first draft thinking about the characters and emotions. Later, she thinks about the themes.
According to the FAQ on her blog, the idea for flyaway came from “the images of birds and migration merging in my head with thoughts about long-term illness”.
Other books by this author include:
For more, check out Lucy Christopher’s website.
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