Children’s Book Week is just around the corner! Check out our blog next week (May 2nd-May 8th) for a new interview every day, from some of our most beloved children’s authors, and see what they have to say on all kinds of topics. Hear from Dave Barry, Clare Vanderpool, Wendy Mass, and more!
I want to tell you about this little gem I just read called The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little. It takes place in rural Louisiana, in Bayou country. The book is rich with description–you feel like you are right there eating crawfish and watching for gators in a simple but exotic place where trateurs (healers) exist, and Cajun magic is possible.
This is one of those books where you might read the book jacket and just put it back down on the shelf–for fear the subject matter is too serious. But don’t let the book jacket scare you away from this magical and touching book. Here is the scoop:
Eleven-year-old Livvie’s mom is in a coma, and her father opts to bring her home to recover, feeling that she has a better chance of waking up at home with her family than in a hospital. Livvie is not so sure, and is pretty freaked out about her comatose mother on display in the living room.
Desperate to help her mother, but uncomfortable with showing her true feelings, Livvie takes matters into her own hands. She paddles to a remote part of the bayou to visit a legendary trateur (healer). There, she receives instructions for healing her mother, which includes collecting certain items and recording fond memories of her.
In performing these tasks, Livvie takes an honest look at herself. She and her mother always seemed to be at odds, and at first, it is hard for Livvie to recall loving memories. But, as she opens herself up and lets down her walls, she begins to see things for how they really were: that she was not always the easiest daughter to manage, and that her mother knew her and loved her better than she could have imagined. Livvie sees past their disagreements, and discovers a lot about her mother, their relationship, and herself in the process. She learns the trateur was right when she told Livvie, “You gotta remember that with faith, nothing is impossible.”
This would make a great read for a mature 5th grade girl, or a classroom read aloud in middle school. It would probably be fine for a read aloud in a 5th grade classroom, too, but there is a wrenching pet death scene. (Then again, my 5th grade daughter’s class just read Where The Red Fern Grows. This book is far less wrenching, and a much easier independent read.) Dependning upon how sensitive an animal lover your child is, this is a great read for all girls from 4th-8th grade.
p.s. And maybe try this one out as a mother/daughter read too. Mother’s Day is coming, right?!