Julia Gillian (and the Quest for Joy)

Julia Gillian (and the Quest for Joy)

4.9 11
by Alison McGhee, Drazen Kozjan

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The irresistible second story in the charming JULIA GILLIAN trilogy is now available in paperback!

So far, fifth grade at Lake Harriet Elementary School is not exactly a thing of joy. Julia Gillian's best friend, Bonwit Keller, is keeping a secret from her. Trumpet lessons with Mr. Mixler, her favorite teacher, are much harder than expected. And most upsetting


The irresistible second story in the charming JULIA GILLIAN trilogy is now available in paperback!

So far, fifth grade at Lake Harriet Elementary School is not exactly a thing of joy. Julia Gillian's best friend, Bonwit Keller, is keeping a secret from her. Trumpet lessons with Mr. Mixler, her favorite teacher, are much harder than expected. And most upsetting of all, the kind lunch lady has been replaced by a tyrant known as the Dumpling Man. Where is the joy? Amidst all this, Julia Gillian starts keeping secrets of her own--secrets that feel an awful lot like lies. To set things right, she will have to learn a little bit about friendship and honesty.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In the second installment of a planned trilogy, McGhee again focuses in on the everyday life of the upstanding title character from Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing), as she seeks to add to her list of accomplishments. Fifth grade is proving to be harder than Julia Gillian anticipated-there is a strict new lunchroom monitor, her best friend is becoming more independent and Julia Gillian can't master the trumpet. Though she wants to solve her own problems, Julia Gillian ends up lying to cover up for her inabilities, which makes matters worse ("That was the problem with being a liar and a hider. Once you started, you just had to keep going"). While the day-to-day narration can be repetitive and the resolution comes a bit quickly and conveniently-Julia Gillian comes clean, learns to play the trumpet and realizes the lunch monitor is not as bad as he seemed-her inner conflicts and fears remain highly relatable. Generously spaced text and frequent, creative use of Kozjan's loose art, which exudes personality, should appeal to new and reluctant readers alike. Ages 9-12. (Apr.)

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Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
This book is written in such a manner that the happenings in the fifth grade at Lake Harriet Elementary School seem to be actually occurring. Julia Gillian, the ten-year-old main character, has a special view of herself, her teachers, her parents, and her friends. Her best friend for as long as she can remember has been Bonwit. Each can almost tell what the other is thinking. Since they were in kindergarten, both Bonwit and Julia Gillian have wanted to take trumpet lessons but they were not eligible until fifth grade. Now, in trumpet class listening to other children make loud and sour notes on their trumpets, Julia Gillian realizes for the first time that she cannot make a sound on her trumpet. She does not want anyone to know. But Julia Gillian and Bonwit have always told the truth, and white lies are unacceptable. So, she hides her trumpeter problem from everyone. Then, she realizes that every time she tells a little white lie, another lie pops out of her mouth. There is an on-going episode in the cafeteria that Julia Gillian solves. When Enzio, Julia Gillian's after-school sitter, decides on a trip to the dog park, an occurrence there has a bearing on the cafeteria incident. Author Alison McGhee draws her characters so well that readers feel they are saying good-bye to dear friends at the end of the book. Fortunately, the author has written another Julia Gillian book as well as other children's books. The illustrations are original and well-worth a second look. The wholesome plot and appropriate language will endear this book to parents, teachers and librarians. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
Kirkus Reviews
In this stand-alone sequel to Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing) (2008), the eponymous heroine pretends all is well while her fifth-grade world totters. Optimistic Julia Gillian's convinced "there was much to be happy about at Lake Harriet Elementary [School]," especially her first trumpet lesson. But when her best pal Bonwit starts avoiding her, a quirky new lunch monitor tyrannizes the school cafeteria and she can't "get even the tiniest sound" out of her trumpet, she wonders, where's the joy? Determined to handle her own problems, Julia Gillian turns into "a rule breaker and a secret keeper" until this uncharacteristic behavior attracts adult attention. Temporarily off-balance, Julia Gillian realizes she's old enough to be responsible for her actions and eventually recoups with a little help from the cast of eccentric supporting characters. Kids will relate to the sympathetic, humorous narrative as it tracks Julia Gillian's very convincing foray into self-imposed misery. Kozjan's energetic pencil-and-ink drawings reveal details of Julia Gillian's troubled but ultimately victorious quest for joy. (Fiction. 9-12)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Julia Gillian Series
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Alison McGhee is the author of numerous award-winning books for young readers and adults, including the New York Times bestseller, Someday, illustrated by Peter Reynolds. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her family. You can visit her at www.alisonmcghee.com.

Drazen Kojzan is the illustrator of several books for children, including Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Raji Codell, and How to Tame a Bully by Nancy Wilcox Richards. He lives in Ontario, Canada with his family. You can visit him at www.drazenkozjan.com.

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Julia Gillian (and the Dream of the Dog) 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book. I couldn't even put this marvelous and intriguing book down. My only complaint is there is only 3 books in the series. It is a book perfect for hiding under your pillow and reading late at night. it is one of those books you can read over and over again. i absulutly adored it.
Mom99 More than 1 year ago
This book is great. Very appropriate for children specially 5th graders. I read some of this to my daughter and she read some herself. I was excited to see it take place in Minnesota! As I was reading it I guessed from the lake mentioned it was in Minneapolis. This book is nicely written no foul language. Very highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's one of my favorite books! I love it! You should totally read it!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Julia Gillian is quite accomplished for a nine-year-old. Thus far she's mastered the art of making papier-mâché masks, spreading her gum evenly across her teeth, and knowing exactly what her dog, Bigfoot, is saying even though he doesn't speak "human." Though she hasn't yet conquered the claw machine at Bryant Hardware by grabbing the stuffed meerkat, Julia keeps her skills sharp every Friday and Sunday afternoon during her walks around the neighborhood with Bigfoot. By far and away though, Julia Gillian's greatest skill is the art of knowing. For instance: she knows what her mother's making for breakfast before entering the kitchen, she knows the newspaper is full of nothing but bad news, and thirty-six pages into her new green book from Quinn Booksellers, she *knows* the story isn't going to end well. Set in Minneapolis, JULIA GILLIAN (AND THE ART OF KNOWING) is a down-to-earth story featuring a precocious young girl's struggle figuring out how to deal with the unsettling realities life (sometimes) presents. A few people might object to Julia's lack of summertime playmates, especially living in a large city; having grown up an only child, though, I can attest to the challenges of ferreting out peers. Alison McGhee gives children an intelligent and determined central character dealing with relatable problems in an honest, straightforward narrative. I'm definitely setting this one aside to pass on to my nieces.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You should really read this book. She has a first name for a first name and a first name for a last name. Just like me. My name is Jocelyn Isabella. READ IT OR ELSE!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very unusual in the way that the characters and ideas fit together. I was absorbed in the book and look forward to reading the next book but also was confused on the point.