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Wenny Has Wings


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About the Author

JANET LEE CAREY grew up in Marin County California surrounded by whispering redwoods. Sunlight cut through ocean mist and fingered through the branches. It was in this magical place that she first dreamed of writing books. Her award-winning teen fantasy novels are translated into many languages. Some include: The Dragons of Noor, which won a Teens Read Too Gold Star Award for Excellence, Stealing Death, which received a School Library Journal starred review, Dragon's Keep, an ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and Wenny Has Wings, a Mark Twain Award recipient and a Sony Feature Film Japan, 2008. Janet lives with her family, dusty book stacks, and imperious cat near Phantom Lake in Washington. Visit Janet online at www.janetleecarey.com.


Gr 4-6 Will North, 11, is in the hospital recuperating from an accident in which his little sister was killed. While still in the emergency room, he sees her flying free and happy in the sky, but returns to his body after seeing his parents' grief. He cannot speak to them about his survivor's guilt, his anger at his sister for dying, or his near-death experience. His father in particular has great difficulty in coping with his loss, eventually leaving the family in order to sort things out. Mr. James, a church youth leader, gives Will a notebook in which to write his feelings and the boy decides to write letters to Wenny, telling her what is going on. Through friendship with his good-natured hospital roommate and the patient, nonjudgmental Mr. James, Will works through the stages of grief and begins healing. The ending is hopeful, with the entire family enrolled in counseling. This book is a useful meditation on death and guilt, particularly for letting children know that adults may have difficulty in dealing with their emotions. Although Will can be a bit disingenuous and the other characters are not fully fleshed out, this novel's unusual focus on near-death experiences should appeal to some readers. -B. Allison Gray, South Country Library, Bellport, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Carey (Molly s Fire) brings a new approach to a familiar story line in this often heartrending novel, conveyed as a series of letters written by 11-year-old Will to his younger sister, who was killed in an accident that Will only barely survived. Will begins by relating his near-death experience and the peace he felt when he and Wenny were zooming around up there in that bright light. But Will s attempts to talk about that experience are waylaid by misunderstandings with his parents and by his father s deepening depression. As he tries to deal with the loss, grief and guilt with being stuck down here... on the outside of heaven Will also feels comforted by his certainty of Wenny s happy afterlife. While Carey sometimes strikes an overly sentimental chord, her characterizations are generally precise and poignant in their accuracy. For example, Will teams up with a classmate to try contacting Wenny via sEances and helium balloons; elsewhere, he doesn t understand why his mother gets so upset when he bakes a cake for Wenny s birthday. The unusual trim size (5"6") may help attract readers attention, and the intriguing and well-developed premise will likely sustain it. Ages 8-12. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews A heartrending glimpse into what happens in a family when a child dies. Philadelphia Inquirer Affecting. Publishers Weekly Poignant. Children's Bookwatch Highly recommended.

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