Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Nightingale's Nest (Nikki Loftin)

I learned about this book from the Nerdy Book Club. I also noticed a few other bloggers writing about it, so I decided I needed to read it. Unfortunately, I think it is meant for kids older than my students who are in grade three. However, after reading it, I am quite motivated to go find The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy since the Nerdy Book Club blogger said she read it to her students in grade three.

A lot of people connected it to Bridge to Terabithia, which is great, because I am reading that next!

This story is based on a Hans Christian Andersen story called The Nightingale. It is a great take on the story.

I am a real sucker for magic in real life. In this story, Little John takes on issues that he shouldn't have to deal with - but he does. And somehow, he makes it through, even though it seems impossible - well, all with a little magical help. The magic of birds and music and giving all we can is a great meta narrative.

In the acknowledgements, at the back of the book, the author totally won me over with this:

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with extraordinary teachers who built nests of knowledge, safety, and love for me, and later for my children. In gratitude and memory, I placed the names of many of them in these pages. If you see your name here, thank you for ever for the gifts you gave in the classroom and beyond. I never forgot you, and I never will.

Goodreads Summary:

Twelve-year-old John Fischer Jr., or "Little John" as he’s always been known, is spending his summer helping his father with his tree removal business, clearing brush for Mr. King, the wealthy owner of a chain of Texas dollar stores, when he hears a beautiful song that transfixes him. He follows the melody and finds, not a bird, but a young girl sitting in the branches of a tall sycamore tree.

There’s something magical about this girl, Gayle, especially her soaring singing voice, and Little John’s friendship with Gayle quickly becomes the one bright spot in his life, for his home is dominated by sorrow over his sister’s death and his parents’ ever-tightening financial difficulties.

But then Mr. King draws Little John into an impossible choice—forced to choose between his family’s survival and a betrayal of Gayle that puts her future in jeopardy.

Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story, Nightingale's Nest is an unforgettable novel about a boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a girl with the gift of healing in her voice.


Addictions - the father spends his weekends drunk
Children - the story is centred around children who have to deal with issues children shouldn't have to worry about
Death - Little John's sister has passed away and he feels responsible for her death. Her mother is not dealing well with everything either and often talks of the daughter as though she were still alive
Family - Little John's family cannot pay the rent, the neighbour's family is friends with them, plus there is a foster family in the story
Fears - Little John's father is intimidating. They are afraid they will be evicted. Gayle is afraid of Mr. king
Foster Children - Gayle is a foster child who has run away a number of times. She lives with a foster family who don't take very good care of her.
Homelessness - The family is afraid they will be evicted. They are always paying the rent late and the landlord is getting impatient.
Imagination - is Gayle simply a child with a good imagination? Does she really have magical powers?
Magic - Gayle is able to heal people with her songs
Mercy - In the end, things do work out
Teachers - The author writes a beautiful tribute to teachers in her acknowledgements. Beautiful!

No comments:

Post a Comment