River Songby Belinda Hollyer
Jessye lives in two worlds, her dependable nana's Maori village and her irresponsible mom's unsettled existence in the city. Even though Jessye will miss Nana and village life terribly, she decides to give living with Mom
Audiences who loved the acclaimed film Whale Rider will be drawn to this poignant story of another spirited Maori girl coming into her own.
Jessye lives in two worlds, her dependable nana's Maori village and her irresponsible mom's unsettled existence in the city. Even though Jessye will miss Nana and village life terribly, she decides to give living with Mom in Aukland one more chance. Although staying in the big group house seems to be okay at first, complications arise with Mom's new boyfriend Adrian and his scheme to take loans out using Nana's land collateral. With Nana in the hospital and Mum blinded by love, Jessye must summon all her inner strength and the spiritual power of her people to safeguard Nana's Maori land.
Gr 4-7- Jessye loves living with Nana, her father's mother who teaches her the chants and songs she needs to know to understand her Maori heritage. She also likes her life with her flighty, city-dwelling non-Maori mother-until her mom finds a new boyfriend and begins to drink too much, leaving Jessye trapped in the complicated role of caregiver. While navigating the rocky and sometimes mysterious relationship between her mother and her grandmother, Jessye is determined to uncover some family secrets: Why will no one talk about her father? Is the Maori story about an angry river spirit true, and does it hold some clues to her father's disappearance? By the end of this coming-of-age story, Jessye's daring act of bravery assures her a place within her Maori family. She realizes that, while she will always love her mother and looks forward to visiting her during holidays, she belongs by the river with her father's family. This time, when she goes back to Nana, she does so knowing that she has made a difficult but correct choice. The natural-sounding first-person narrative draws readers into a story of a girl learning to make sense of all the strands that make up her life and heritage.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Meet the Author
Belinda grew up in a small harbour town in New Zealand: a glorious place to be a child. She shared a pony with her sisters, and spent most of her time reading, riding, and playing on the beach at the bottom of their road. (Even now, tidal water still tugs at her imagination.) Career-wise, Belinda has enjoyed different combinations of children and books - as a teacher, a librarian, a book publisher, and now as an almost-full-time writer. She has lived in Beirut, and Melbourne, and on the south coast in England, and now she mostly divides her time between London and Key West (in Florida). Belinda lives in Primrose Hill, North London, with her partner, Bruce.
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