Saturday, August 6, 2011
Nettie Parker’s Backyard by Cynthia Smith
I am very busy these days with the ever-growing stack of books I need to read for reviews. But, there are so many good books out there waiting to be read that I decided to feature books without my review on my site. I have done a little research on each book and found it worthy of being included in this new feature on my blog (worthy according to “Lucy”- meaning I would review the book if my pile were not so high.) The author’s are anxiously awaiting reviews, so if you see a book that captures your fancy, please feel free to contact the author and let them know that you would like to review the book.
About the Book:
Ask anyone who knows Nettie Parker and they’ll say that she’s an amazing, mystical woman…what else would you call someone who receivessupernatural signs sent just to them? And being able to live longer than anyone else? That alone is pretty amazing! Nettie’s been through many hardships in her life, and she’s learned first-hand that prejudice can be a multi-headed dragon. But her courage and determination show others that differences in skin color or in physical abilities don’t matter. In fact, as Nettie and her fighter-pilot husband both get caught up in World War II, survival becomes what matters most—not just for them, but also for the eight Jewish refugee children she comes to care for. Now Nettie faces her toughest struggle yet: uncovering the mystery of her supernatural signs and the purpose of her unusually long life. Do the strange statues that suddenly appear in her backyard point to any clues? Halley, Nettie’s young friend, plays detective as she re-visits Nettie’s past, a journey that takes the reader from South Carolina to England and back again. Can Halley put all the pieces together and solve the puzzle?
Nettie Parker’s Backyard is a work of historical fiction. The book holds the readers’ interest with just the right amount of mystery and magic, also weaving important lessons against bullying and intolerance toward race, religion and the physically challenged into the story. The novel has wide appeal and contains something with which every 4th-6th grader can identify.
"…suddenly and from out of nowhere I heard and saw violin music playing. When it ended the melody repeated itself twice more, and then nothing. The music had stopped as mysteriously as it had begun. It hadn’t come from any one place in particular but from everywhere all at once. I could actually hear and see the musical notes magically encircling me. They were shiny…glittering…dancing all around me! I stayed very still until I was sure the haunting melody had finished." Nettie's first sign, age 6.
About the Author:
The idea for Nettie Parker's Backyard came to me in a very vivid dream, and whereas most of my dreams go unremembered, this one was definitely unique. Its powerful detail and message ended with a revelation that has affected my own personal beliefs, further compelling me to write the book. My research took me down some fascinating avenues as I discovered such things as the Gullah language in the Sea Islands, the Kindertransport, sand fly fever, and the role African-American soldiers played in WWII. Nettie's character was based on that of my granddaughters; thus, some of her best virtues are those of trust, love, and friendship.
I have been a teacher and para-educator for over 30 years, most of which were spent in classrooms where students were just beginning to think for themselves and about themselves. The book is written for ages 9-12, the time when youth questions everything. Adolescence is starting and many children feel insecure about themselves, their relationships with peers, or even their own families and home life. These insecurities manifest themselves in various behaviors; some children withdraw into themselves, while some overcompensate for their fears by bullying others.
I have witnessed that when bullying begins, even if innocently meant with only an off-handed word or two, prejudice often follows not far behind. I wrote this novel hoping to illustrate to children that bullying and intolerance toward race, religion, or the physically challenged have no place in our world today. Certainly, with tools such as the internet, face book, twitter, etc., the world is becoming smaller in many ways. We must all learn to accept one another and appreciate our differences, rather than let them separate us. I further believe that more must be done to inhibit bullying; not doing so only enables the passing of prejudice from one generation to the next.
You can visit the author at her website: www.nettieparkersbackyard.com
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