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Chasing Redbird
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About the Author

Sharon Creech has written twenty-one books for young people and is published in over twenty languages. Her books have received awards in both the U.S. and abroad, including the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor for The Wanderer, and Great Britain's Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler. Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for fifteen years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine, "lured there by our grandchildren," Creech says. www.sharoncreech.com

Reviews

Gr 5-8‘Creech returns to Appalachia in this story of 13-year-old Zinny, a middle child struggling to find and accept herself plus look for a way to come to terms with the death of her beloved Aunt Jessie and her feelings of responsibility for that death. The novel revolves around an old overgrown trail that Zinny discovers and proceeds to resurrect. Meanwhile, her admirer, Jake Boone, is persistent about bringing her presents yet fails to convince her he is not really after her sister, May, as so many other boys have been. Uncle Nate seems to be losing touch with reality after his wife's death, and guilt rooted in the past resurfaces to confuse Zinny, who comes to feel that the trail she is uncovering will somehow bring sanity, safety, and a sense of identity to her life. It does, but in ways she could never have predicted. The journey for Zinny and readers is intriguing, delightful, and touching. Reminiscent of many novels about the rural South with wonderfully quirky characters and a focus on the setting of the natural world, this story seems much fresher and tangibly more in the present than most. Not as complex as Creech's Walk Two Moons (HarperCollins, 1994), there is still plenty to discuss such as the symbolism of the redbird in the title and the ethical issues surrounding Jake's gifts and Zinny's mistrust of his affection for her.‘Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library

Returning to Bybanks, Ky., the setting of her Newbery-winning Walk Two Moons, Creech weaves an affecting tale of love and loss. Zinnia Taylor, the third of seven children, is shaken by her aunt's recent death; although the doctor attributed it to diabetes, the 13-year-old feels sure that a prank she pulled was the real cause. When Zinny discovers a trail at the edge of her parents' farm, she learns of its history as a 20-mile path once trodden by Indians and trappers. She spends weeks clearing weeds and digging up markers; during the course of her solitary endeavors, which are periodically interrupted by Jake Boone's attempts at wooing, Zinny not only learns of her ancestors' hardships but slowly resolves her internal conflicts. Creech's language is as fresh as the natural wonders Zinny encounters in the woods: an older sister has a temper "hotter than a boiled owl"; zinnias, which Zinny plants to commemorate her role in clearing the historic path, "are like bright sentries marching along the trail." This sturdy but sensitive tale is Creech's best yet. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

"Intriguing, delightful, and touching."--School Library Journal (starred review)
"Creech's best yet."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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