Realistic fiction takes an unexpected turn into fantasy in LaFaye's (Worth) lyrical exploration of a girl coping with her fear of water. Eleven-year-old Kyna's first memory is of drowning; a boat accident took the lives of her family when she was three. She was rescued by Mem and Pep, a water-loving Irish couple who adopted her. They have worked with her on slowly overcoming her fear by taking "water steps" over the years-the latest step is renting a house on Lake Champlain for the summer. Kyna's passion for photography sustains her as she struggles to make peace with the water that surrounds her. Thanks to the gentle prodding of her adoptive parents and a new friend's interest in seeking out the mythical silkies (shape-shifting seals that come to the aid of people in trouble in the water) that he believes live in the lake, she makes tremendous strides over the summer. The final, magical revelation about Mem and Pep's identity will come as much of a surprise to readers as it does to Kyna. Ages 8-13. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Water Stepsby A. LaFaye
Kyna likes her friends, her purple hair, and taking photographs. But there's something she definitely doesn't like: the water. Every time she comes near it, she feels the sinister pull of the depths trying to draw her down to a watery grave. Even the calm water in the bathtub reminds her of the torrential storm that took the lives of her sailing family when she
Kyna likes her friends, her purple hair, and taking photographs. But there's something she definitely doesn't like: the water. Every time she comes near it, she feels the sinister pull of the depths trying to draw her down to a watery grave. Even the calm water in the bathtub reminds her of the torrential storm that took the lives of her sailing family when she was just a baby. But Kyna's adopted parents love nothing more than to swim and splash about in lakes and streams, or even the local pool. When they decide to spend the summer at a beach house on Lake Champlain, Kyna is convinced that they're trying to teach her something about water that she's not ready to learn. Little does she know that the water will reveal far more than she ever could have imagined. Inspired by Champ, the legendary monster living in Lake Champlain, Water Steps finds novelist A. LaFaye at her best, expertly interweaving themes of adolescent fears and fantasies, the frustrations and rewards of family, and a world of mystery and magic under the placid surface of nature.
Meet the Author
Alexandria La Faye is the author of several children’s books, including The Strength of Saints, Stella Stands Alone, The Year of the Sawdust Man, and Worth, which won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. She teaches children’s literature at the summer
MFA program at Hollins University, and writing for children and young adults in the MFA program at Hamline University. She lives in Cabot, Arkansas.
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Ever since she nearly drowned in a storm that took the lives of the rest of her family, Kyna has had a crippling fear of the water. Only three when she was rescued by the couple who became her adoptive parents, Kyna has spent the seven years since then learning to take water steps-small victories that help her get over her anxiety from even simple things like washing her hands. Mem and Pep, Kyna's adoptive parents, are patient with her, supporting her efforts and always there to encourage every new water step she takes. But Kyna is dismayed when they book a house by a lake for the summer. Don't they know she's not ready to take that big of a step yet? Despite Kyna's determination to stay as far away from the lake as possible while she explores the forest instead, she finds herself longing to overcome her fears once and for all so she can stop the limitations she puts on herself. Despite the gloomy-sounding premise, Water Steps by A. LaFaye is delightful to read. Kyna has experienced so much pain and loss, but she's surrounded by love and hopefulness too. Just as Kyna's adoptive parents fill her with stories of magical creatures from their native Ireland-silkies, fairies and leprechauns-her story has a hint of magic as well. You'll find yourself cheering for Kyna with every water step she takes. And you'll love the Irish myths woven into along with a little bit of mystery too. Good discussion points for mother-daughter book clubs reading Water Steps include overcoming fears, friendship, acceptance, and courage. Recommended for book clubs with girls aged 9 to 12.
Kyna hates water. Ever since a boating accident left her orphaned, her fear of water has taken over. She is afraid of walking on the beach. There's no way she could swim. Even the idea of taking a bath is enough to send Kyna into a panic attack. So when Kyna's adopted parents announce they've rented a lake house for the summer in hopes that Kyna will take more water steps, tasks to get her closer to the water, she is less than pleased. How can she stay in a house surrounded by a body of water? She'd much rather spend time taking photos on dry land. Kyna's summer starts to look a little brighter when she befriends Tylo. Tylo claims to have seen silkies in the lake and wants Kyna to help him find the truth with her camera. Kyna isn't thrilled about getting close to the water, but she doesn't want to lose her new friend. Can she finally push herself to the biggest water step of all? WATER STEPS is more than a story about a girl trying to overcome her fear. There are fairy tales woven into Kyna's story. A. LaFaye writes a beautiful tale of risks and growth and adds Irish folklore into the mix. A magical tale for readers of all ages, WATER STEPS is the perfect read for anyone who believes in the impossible.