Fans of Newbery Medalist DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale will delight in finding out what becomes of Raymie’s orphaned friend Louisiana Elefante in this “story of woe and confusion” that is also a “story of joy and kindness and free peanuts.” In Florida, 12-year-old narrator Louisiana is whisked out of bed at 3 a.m. by her grandmother—her caretaker—who declares that “the day of reckoning has arrived” and they must leave straightaway. The trip is aborted in Richford, Ga., when suffering Granny has to have all her teeth removed. Stuck in a motel while her grandmother recuperates, homesick Louisiana seethes with resentment but is distracted by young Burke Allen, who has a pet crow and knows how to get free food from the vending machine. Then Granny abandons Louisiana, leaving her with nothing but a letter revealing that everything Louisiana knows about her past is a lie. Populated with unforgettable characters, including kindhearted adults who recognize Louisiana’s dire situation and offer options, this bittersweet novel shows a deep understanding of children’s emotions and celebrates their resiliency. Readers will feel as much empathy for Louisiana as they did for her friend Raymie. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)
Louisiana, with her quick, insightful takes on everyone she meets, grabbed readers’ hearts in ‘Raymie Nightingale,’ and in this book she isn’t about to let go. Though her life has been filled with hardship and uncertainty — and there are more painful secrets to come — she continues to operate with a sense of wonder and practical optimism (the pages shine with it).
—The New York Times Book Review
DiCamillo offers a master class in how to tell and shape a story once all fat has been cut away. Though set in the mid-1970s, there’s fairy-tale quality to this, with heroes, helpers, villains, and one princess looking for home.
—Booklist (starred review)
Readers who first encountered Louisiana in Raymie Nightingale (2016) will be heartened to learn more about her...For readers who relish thoughtfully constructed plots, well-developed characters, and carefully crafted language, this will be a special treat.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
DiCamillo builds a resilient and sympathetic character in Louisiana, and the juxtaposition of her down-to-earth observations with Granny’s capriciousness lightens the narrative and allows for a good deal of humor...The overarching themes addressing forgiveness, love, friendship, acceptance, home, and family (“Perhaps what matters when all is said and done is not who puts us down but who picks us up”) ring honest and true.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Populated with unforgettable characters, including kindhearted adults who recognize Louisiana’s dire situation and offer options, this bittersweet novel shows a deep understanding of children’s emotions and celebrates their resiliency. Readers will feel as much empathy for Louisiana as they did for her friend Raymie.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
DiCamillo is able to address complex topics in an accessible and ultimately hopeful way. There is never sadness without comfort, fear without consolation. Louisiana’s soul-searching is no exception and further solidifies DiCamillo’s reputation as a skilled storyteller who trusts her readers to wrestle with hard things. A thoughtful and finely written story that earns its place among DiCamillo’s other beloved novels.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
The tale is...gently told, as much fairy tale as realistic story, in language that’s lovely in its plainspoken illuminations, with the focus on Louisiana’s longing for connection and observations about the people she encounters on the road and in the small 1970s Georgia town. Ultimately this is a deeply sweet but not saccharine take on the old story of an orphan child lost and found, and readers won’t have to know the first book to bond with Louisiana and wish fervently for her to find a home.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
DiCamillo's funny and hugely likable Louisiana has a marvelous way with words and a spirit that will not rest until she finds her way home, wherever that may be…Louisiana, one of the trio of friends from Kate DiCamillo's Raymie Nightingale, returns in her own beautiful, bittersweet middle-grade stand-alone about finding her home... and herself.
—Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)
In this funny yet philosophical melodrama, 12-year old Louisiana Elefante recalls her identity crisis, forced when eccentric Granny claims “a date with destiny."...Disparate elements miraculously mesh — stars, smiles, magic, bologna sandwiches, a pet crow and cakes. Here, a two-time Newbery award winner brilliantly guides the dear Louisiana through lies, secrets, anger and abandonment and toward understanding, belonging, gratitude and forgiveness.
—San Francisco Chronicle
Almost effortlessly, DiCamillo explores some of the biggest, most important questions of life — What is home? What is family? Who decides what kind of person we get to be? — in this deceivingly simple and profoundly moving novel.
DiCamillo peoples her tale with colorful, unforgettable characters, although brave,thoughtful, kind Louisiana is the most memorable of all. Young as she is, Louisiana knows to appreciate rare moments of grace and kindness ("there is goodness in many hearts": the gas station clerk who gives her free bags of peanuts, a woman in the dentist's waiting room who gives her a tin of chocolate chip cookies), and she understands the healing power of forgiveness.
‘You are not alone in the world,’ reads the grandmother’s farewell letter in ‘Louisiana’s Way Home’ (Candlewick, 227 pages, $16.99), Kate DiCamillo’s tender, sorrowful, life-embracing sequel to her 2016 novel, ‘Raymie Nightingale.’
—The Wall Street Journal
This poignant story of loss echoes with themes of hope and redemption.
DiCamillo's genius is finding comedy in tragedy, humanity in darkness. Here, the spirited Louisiana Elefante meets loss head on and finds a way home.
In Kate DiCamillo’s beautiful follow-up to Raymie Nightingale, Louisiana Elefante is back...The book strikes a delicate balance between relating a charming, entertaining story full of colorful characters and imparting a deeply meaningful life lesson about deciding what kind of person to be.
DiCamillo reveals the strength and fight in Louisiana...once again Louisiana finds just the right people to help ground her.
This is a marvelous book, full of heart but without a drop of cheap sentimentality. . . . What a pleasure it is to read a story in which the author’s faith in the goodness of ‘average’ people is set forth with such vigor and confidence. This celebration of kindness is itself a kindness to the reader and an encouragement to hope.
—Dean Koontz, bestselling author
I really really like Louisiana’s Way Home, a slim, handsome novel about grace.
—Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production (blog)
I will read anything Kate DiCamillo writes; the two-time Newbery medalist never disappoints with her stories for younger readers. Her latest finely-crafted tale follows 12-year-old Louisiana Elefante through an unforgettable fable about grace, hardships and discovery.
—Aspen Daily News
It’s hard to imagine this story being told in any other way than through the words and unique viewpoint of Louisiana herself. The characters wouldn’t come to life in the same way, the setting would be ordinary, and the plot might not be compelling.
—Heavy Medal (blog)
Abandoned twice over, Louisiana Elefante discovers in herself the "magic that puts things back together.""There is a great deal of power in writing things down," Louisiana observes as she begins her chronicle, a powerful tale of finding her way home. In a convincing first-person voice, the 12-year-old relates the facts of her 1977 journey to Richford, Georgia. She takes note of surprising details and adds her own philosophical thoughts. Readers who first encountered Louisiana in Raymie Nightingale (2016) will be heartened to learn more about her, but this is a stand-alone tale of how she lifted the "curse of sundering" she thought was her legacy. This is not only a story of a child deciding who she wants to be, but also of the power of generosity, especially in the family of Burke Allen, the boy who becomes her friend after she has left Raymie and Beverly behind in Florida. Louisiana's life with her grandmother has not been easy, but she has some amazing talents: a voice like an angel and skill at convincing others to meet her needs. Much about her experiences could be devastatingly sad—sometimes this vulnerable white child makes other characters cry—but there's also humor, especially in Louisiana's biting observations about some of the adults around her. The book adheres to the white default.For readers who relish thoughtfully constructed plots, well-developed characters, and carefully crafted language, this will be a special treat. (Historical fiction. 9-13)