Terrific Children’s Books – #3

Books #1 and #2 dealt with the all-important social and emotional issues – friendship, fear, worry, kindness, courage, giving…and more.

Here is #3, a story on the same important path, but at a much more complex level.  Oh, this one is really good!

This is a story of love, courage, and finding oneself.  It is a story of overcoming obstacles and of trust.  It is a story of words – oh, the power of letters and writing and of words.  It is a story of finding your purpose in life.  Finding your way home.

The story is set in medieval times, with kings, soldiers, and of course monks.  Beatryce awakens in the barn of a monastery, with a goat.  A monk, Brother Edik, shelters her.  After all, she’s only a child.   Beatrice has no memory, except for her name.  The goat, Answelica, becomes her fierce protector.  And so the story begins.

There is a prophecy in the land, written down by the brothers of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing:

There will one day come a girl child who will unseat a king
and bring about a great change.

Could this child be the one written in the prophecy?

Beatryce can read and write, surprisingly, as it is against the law for women and girls to read and write.  She writes for Brother Edik:

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong.
We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

Beatryce did not know from where those words came.

As the story -the quest – unravels, she meets Jack Dory and Cannoc who become intertwined with helping Beatryce.  Along the way, they must face their own demons, each in a different way.  Will Beatryce find who she really is?  It takes strength, courage and trust to move forward.

Author Kate DiCamillo is a terrific storyteller.  Her characters are really ‘us’.  The stage she sets makes the story all the more exciting.  While it is in medieval times, the theme is just as timely (and important) today.  The book is a new release, I was the first to borrow the library’s copy.  I loved this book!  It is for ages 9 and above (to 99) and 247 of the best pages I have read in a long time.


Stay tuned for #4, If You Plant a Seed

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
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91 Responses to Terrific Children’s Books – #3

  1. beth says:

    these sound wonderful for the 9s+

  2. beetleypete says:

    The cover illustration is beautiful, and I am sure older more confident readers will be entranced by this book, Jennie.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. quiall says:

    It sounds like words we all need to hear these days.

  4. Darlene says:

    I really want to read this book. Kate DiCamillo is an awesome writer. Her books will stand the test of time.

  5. This really sounds fantastic ❤️

  6. Sounds and loks grand!

  7. Jim Borden says:

    at first I was thinking – you are reading this to pre-schoolers? But then I saw the 9 plus age group. Sounds like a terrific book.

    P.S. I would not have been too surprised if you were reading it to your pre-k students!

    • Jennie says:

      Of course you were thinking, “What is she doing?” I like to recommend older children’s books, too. This one should be read by everyone over the age of 9 (yes, adults.)

      And yes, I chapter read older books, but not this one (too sophisticated). Right now we’re more than halfway through The Story of Doctor Dolittle… so good!!

  8. Don Ostertag says:

    Well this sounds like a book I would enjoy.

  9. This sounds like an extraordinary and compelling book.

    • Jennie says:

      It really is, Liz. It’s not just a children’s book. The theme and underlying message took me from worried to cheering, with a long pathway to get there. Her character development is incredible.

      • I’ve been reading a lot of descriptions and reviews of children’s books lately, and as soon as I started reading your post, it was clear that this book is not the usual fare.

      • Jennie says:

        You are right, this is not the usual fare… yet it IS for a Newbery-esque book directed at an older children’s audience. Does that make sense? I’m curious about the reviews you have read on children’s books.

      • The reviews I’m referring to are the ones I’ve been reading on the Smorgasbord Cafe. They seem to be mostly tidy little object lessons about friendship and embracing differences–but this may be the way the books are discussed moreso than the books themselves. I’ll also confess to a bias against didactic stories from a very young age.

      • Jennie says:

        Hi, Liz. I would love to have this conversation with you. Can you email me @ sfitzkee@erols.com?

  10. HI Jennie, this sounds lovely. Thank you for introducing me to another wonderful children’s book.

  11. Ritu says:

    This sounds interesting!

  12. I love this author. She makes the reader, no matter the age, think. Can’t wait to get this book!

  13. A lovely message in this book and illustration look fantastic

  14. Looks and sounds like a wonderful book, Jennie! Sharing….

  15. bosssybabe says:

    I love that it’s a writer’s book! The illustration looks unique as well! A stand-out!

    • Jennie says:

      Jen, I’m not sure what you mean by a writer’s book. Do you mean that Beatryce is a writer? That is so important in the story, because it was against the law for girls and women to read and write. You will love the book. Charlotte will, in 5 or 6 years.

      The illustrator is amazing. My favorite book that she illustrated is “Finding Winnie. The True Story of Winnie the Pooh.” Another Charlotte book… in two years. 🙂

  16. petespringerauthor says:

    This one is great! You can never go wrong with Kate. I buy her books sight unseen because I know they’ll be great.

  17. Sounds like a lovely book Jennie and I can rememember reading books at that age that had some great moral lessons included that even at then taught me more about the world and my place in it.. ♥

  18. Such a pity I am not in the US as I would love your opinion on my “Penny Tales” which seem to be ideal to read aloud to young children.Stories about talking animals and witches where good overcomes evil usually have universal appeal and I tried to update the problems encountered so that they were relevent to modern times even if they were in a magic kingdom.As the toads have little verses that they chant it can be quite fun for the readers,too. I am not producing them as ebooks.
    I shall look up Kate for my 9yr old granddaughter.

    • Jennie says:

      Julie, it is a pity that books in America aren’t published elsewhere, unless they’re classics. It’s the same for other countries as well. Your granddaughter (and you) will love Kate’s books. The last time I heard her speak, she told the audience about submitting her first MS to publishers. She had 471 rejections before she found a publisher, and that book (Because of Winn Dixie) won the Newbery. Wow, what a great story! Best to you, and keep writing!

  19. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – December 3rd 2021 – #RoundUp Carol Taylor, #Christmas Donna Parker, #Guest The Story Reading Ape, #Children’sbooks Jennie Fitzkee, #Guest Colleen Chesebro with D.L. Finn | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  20. Luanne says:

    Is she the one who wrote The Tale of Despereaux? That was a cute book, although I as thrilled with it as the hype led me to believe. Is this one better, same, or not as good?

  21. That sounds like a really terrific read, Jennie, the kind of thing I would have loved as a kid. Or now.

    • Jennie says:

      The ‘or now’ speaks volumes for you, Mike. It’s castles and a monastery, good and evil, and a child who finds herself in the middle of, well, history. Can you get this book at your library? It’s right up your alley.

  22. CarolCooks2 says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book, Jennie and one I can get to read with Lily 🙂 x

  23. Jennie says:

    The ‘or now’ speaks volumes for you, Mike. It’s castles and a monastery, good and evil, and a child who finds herself in the middle of, well, history. Can you get this book at your library?

  24. Thanks for recommending another great book, Jennie. I especiallly love the cover art. 😉 Enjoy a beautiful weekend! xx Michael

  25. GP says:

    I thought this might be a fun project for your students.

  26. Is this book good for a read aloud with a 7 and 6 year old or would it be too complex?

  27. Dan Antion says:

    This sounds like a great book, Jennie

  28. Norah says:

    Kate DiCamillo is a wonderful storyteller and writer. I look forward to reading this one.

  29. Pingback: Terrific Children’s Books – #3 – QUES

  30. Pingback: Terrific Children’s Books – #3 – Jackanori, (MPD)

  31. BERNADETTE says:

    I love Kate’s magical writing and haven’t read this book yet. Thank you for the recommendation.

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