If you haven't had a chance to take a trip this summer, reading this novel is almost like visiting Paris! It's a sad but sweet story about family, friends and learning to take chances.
Nora loves everything about Paris, from the Eiffel Tower to chocolat chaud. Of course, she's never actually been there -- she's only visited through her Grandma Sylvia's stories. And just when they've finally planned a trip together, Grandma Sylvia is suddenly gone, taking Nora's dreams with her.
Nora is crushed. She misses her grandmother terribly, but she still wants to see the city they both loved. So when Nora finds letters and a Paris treasure map among her Grandma Sylvia's things, she dares to dream again . . .
She's not sure what her grandma wants her to find, but Nora knows there are wonderful surprises waiting for her in Paris. And maybe, amongst the croissants and macarons, she'll even find a way to heal her broken heart.
My Secret Guide to Paris by Lisa Shroeder, Scholastic Press, 2015.
This was an emotional story about a girl coping with her grandmother’s death and taking chances as she develops a stronger relationship with her mother. Traveling around the Paris to find “treasures” was a fun way to keep the story moving and bring in interesting details about the city.
If you write for children, consider studying this novel to see how to create an interesting setting without taking away from the story.
“When you go to Paris,” Grandma Sylvie said to me, “you must ask for a baguette de tradition. That’s the good kind.”
“It wasn’t long before we stood in front of a big picture window, staring at silvery boxes filled with chocolates and unique chocolate creations like a high-heeled shoe and the Eiffel Tower.”
“I was beginning to see that grief was a lot like a rainy day. Sometimes the sadness was like a light mist around me, while other times it poured, mean and fierce.”
“Good-bye is sad in any language.”
Lisa Shroeder is the author of over ten middle grade and young adult books. She lives near Portland, Oregon and has been writing since she was a child. Here’s what she says about why she loves to write: "Between the pages of a book, we can visit new places, make new friends, and when we're having a hard time, perhaps feel a little less alone in the world."
If you'd like a middle grade reader's perspective on this book, here's a review from Books with Nicole, who says she "learned a lot of things."