by Jeniferlee Pace Tucker
by Jeniferlee Pace Tucker
Middle Grade Fiction
It’s summer on Seskip Island. While staying at her aunt and uncle’s cottage, Selby Watts escapes her hometown and her worries about entering sixth grade at the large middle school. One blustery morning on the lake, she stumbles upon a seemingly abandoned camp and hears the swirling, spiraling song of a mysterious bird…
Selby’s friendship is hard-won by Cole, an island neighbor. They don’t seem to have much in common. He has his own struggles. His parents are separated and he feels invisible around his father, who believes the “abandoned” camp with its dense woods (actually owned by Verna and Paige Thompson) should be cleared away for development. During an unexpected sail however, Cole and Selby open up to each other. Friendship grows as Selby tries to protect the endangered veery birds on the island and a stray dog begins to mend the heart of Cole’s family.
A violent storm destroys the Thompson’s camp and the site of the veery nest, but all is not lost and unlikely heroes are revealed. In the words of Hazel Hartnett, an eccentric local naturalist, “...something so simple can be so special...” So it is that Selby’s “cinnamon birds”change how she sees the world, herself and others.
PRAISE FOR CINNAMON BIRDS
Selby's parents think she will benefit from a change of scene the summer before heading off to middle school. And what a summer she has! Lovers of nature will find wonderful descriptions of Selby's days on Seskip Island. Readers who often feel different or alone will enjoy Selby's ability to make new and unexpected friends while remaining true to herself. In this story full of compassion and love, Selby has a "veery" wonderful summer and learns that "places can be friends too, if we're lucky that is."
--Carolyn Hall, one of the founders of The Chickadee Award, The Maine Children's Choice Picture Book Award and instructor of children's literature through Maine Educators Consortium.
Jeniferlee Tucker's Cinnamon Birds is both a thoughtful, and thought provoking story about a young girl who finds out that you don't have to change who you are in order to fit in and make friends who will last a lifetime. Figurative language abounds throughout, making it a joy to imagine every setting. Unexpected, surprising events will keep you on the edge of your seat! A must for the bookshelves of young readers!
--Virginia Cassarino-Brown, author of The Tangled Loon and Dusty's Udder Luck
Jeniferlee has always been a “laker.” Her family lived on the water’s edge in a canvas tent while building their summer camp when she was just six weeks old. She now shares the light and rhythm of a northern lake with young readers in her first book, Cinnamon Birds. Jeniferlee’s poetry has been published in several Maine journals, and highlighted through the University of Southern Maine. She received an M.Ed. in Reading from UNH and has been a literacy educator for over 35 years. Jeniferlee and her husband live in Southern Midcoast Maine with their Maine Coon Cat and Akita. They spend time on New England lakes each summer.