Layla, Queen of Hearts

Overview

When Layla's school announces a Senior Citizens’ Day, Layla is at a loss. Who can she take? Her friend Griffin Silk offers to share his grandmother, Nell, but Layla desperately wants someone of her own. So Nell introduces Layla to Miss Amelie and a friendship begins. Layla soon learns that Miss Amelie has problems with her memory. Layla is determined to help—and a small but significant miracle occurs in this warm and loving novel about the healing power of friendship.

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Overview

When Layla's school announces a Senior Citizens’ Day, Layla is at a loss. Who can she take? Her friend Griffin Silk offers to share his grandmother, Nell, but Layla desperately wants someone of her own. So Nell introduces Layla to Miss Amelie and a friendship begins. Layla soon learns that Miss Amelie has problems with her memory. Layla is determined to help—and a small but significant miracle occurs in this warm and loving novel about the healing power of friendship.

Layla, Queen of Hearts is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The sequel to The Naming of Tishkin Silk (Farrar, 2009), this is a beautifully written tale about how it feels to lose someone you care about, whether the loss is due to death or dementia. Though the subject matter is heavy, Millard maintains an upbeat mood throughout and her poetic descriptions of Layla’s environment show readers that there is beauty and joy to be found in everyday life." -School Library Journal

"The theme running through Millard’s Silk family chronicles is the transformative power of empathy. Emotional balm, the source of inspiration and ideas that nourish and enrich the soul, empathy works its magic on everyone." -Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Layla Elliot comes from a nice, conventional family. Her best friend, a boy named Griffin Silk, also comes from a nice family, even if they are a little unusual. Layla's life is fairly serene until she learns that her school is sponsoring "Senior Citizens' Day," and that every child is expected to bring a senior citizen to school. Layla's grandmother has died, and although Griffin offers to let Layla borrow his grandmother, Layla wants to bring an elderly person of her very own. She finds one in Miss Amelie. Miss Amelie, who never married, lives by herself not far from Layla, and she suffers from forgetfulness and memory loss. Layla befriends her, and after some difficulties, is able to bring Miss Amelie to "Senior Citizens Day." Everyone has a good time. A few months later, however, Miss Amelie's memory loss problem worsen, and she is taken to a nursing home, where she eventually dies. Layla attends the funeral and begins to understand a little more about illness and death. This book, which is a sequel to The Naming of Tishkin Silk, deals primarily with the themes of old age, loss, illness, and death. Reviewer: Leona Illig
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Senior Citizen's Day is right around the corner for the third graders at Saint Benedict's, and Layla Elliott has a problem. Her nana died last year, and she has no one special to take to the festivities. No one, that is, until she meets Miss Amelie, who is coping with memory loss. The elderly woman's condition doesn't stop Layla from pursuing a friendship with her, though. She knows that they are meant to be friends because they share the nickname "Queen of Hearts," given to each of them by a loved one who has passed. Indeed, their bond strengthens, and Miss Amelie attends Senior Citizen's Day with Layla. They have a wonderful time together, but then the child must learn how to cope as she watches her friend's memory worsen. The sequel to The Naming of Tishkin Silk (Farrar, 2009), this is a beautifully written tale about how it feels to lose someone you care about, whether the loss is due to death or dementia. Though the subject matter is heavy, Millard maintains an upbeat mood throughout and her poetic descriptions of Layla's environment show readers that there is beauty and joy to be found in everyday life. Soft pencil drawings scattered throughout also add a sense of comfort. This is a gentle introduction to a difficult subject, and reassuring bibliotherapy for children who have already lost a grandparent.—Amy Holland, Hamlin Public Library, Rochester, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Layla Elliott and Griffin Silk are best friends, and she's become a virtual Silk family member. So rather than ask her busy, distracted mom, who never quite hears her, Layla turns to the Silks for help finding an elderly person she can bring to school for Senior Citizens Day. Griffin offers to share his grandma, Nell, since Layla's own beloved nana died recently. But Nell sees that Layla longs for someone of her own. When their list of Likely Candidates doesn't pan out, Nell introduces Layla to Miss Amelie. This charming elderly lady remembers some things vividly-such as the mysterious John William she waits for-but forgets who Layla is between visits. Can-should-Layla bring her to school? The theme running through Millard's Silk family chronicles is the transformative power of empathy. Emotional balm, the source of inspiration and ideas that nourish and enrich the soul, empathy works its magic on everyone, from Miss Amelie to Layla's impatient mom. Barton's illustrations gently convey the bonds of affection among the author's eccentric, engaging characters. (Fiction. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374343606
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 7.92 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Glenda Millard has published many books for young readers in Australia, including her award-winning novels about the Silk family. She lives in Victoria, Australia. Patrice Barton received her B.F.A. in studio art from the University of Texas. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas.

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