Author Cynthia Rylant wrote her first story way back in 1979. Since then there have been over a hundred more from toddler books and poetry to chapter books and middle grade fiction. She’s been honored with numerous awards. The Caldecot honor went to WHEN I WAS YOUNG IN THE MOUNTAINS (1982) and THE RELATIVES CAME. (1985) The awards kept rolling in with the A FINE WHITE DUST (1987) winning the Newbery honor, and MISSING MAY (1992) took home the Newbery Medal.
This month comes her newest—ROSETOWN. Here’s the official background from Amazon:
From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant comes the charming story of nine-year-old Flora Smallwood and the eventful year she spends in the quiet community of Rosetown, Indiana.
For nine-year-old Flora Smallwood, Rosetown, Indiana, is full of surprises, many of the best of which happen at the Wing and a Chair Used Book Shop, where she loves to read vintage children’s books after school in the faded purple chair by the window.
But lately, those surprises haven’t been so good. Her dear old dog, Laurence, recently passed away. Not long after, her parents decided to take a breather from their marriage, and now Flora has to move back and forth between their two houses. Plus, she’s just begun fourth grade, and it is so much different than third.
Luckily Flora has two wonderful friends—one old and one new. And with them around to share thoughts and laughs and adventures big and small, life in Rosetown still has many sweet moments—and even some very happy surprises!
It’s a quiet story set in 1972 with a big message about friendship and family. Flora’s friends include long timer Nessy who lives in an exclusive gated community, and her new friend Yury, who sits behind her on the first day of fourth grade. He’s from the Ukraine and they hit it off, especially in his honest way of dealing with life.
Family includes her loving parents. The are separated but each give Flora lots of their time: The father with his love of framing the perfect picture in his job as a photographer; The mother with her love of old books. Flora has the same problem many kids have today in a sharing situation. When she’s at the white house (Dad’s) there is always something she needs at the yellow house (Mom’s) and vice versa.
Told in third person, you’ll feel a longing to visit a place like Rosetown. Life is consistent and change comes slowly. It’s the perfect town for Flora to deal with the pressures of getting older. The tale should also help other kids dealing with the many tough changes in their own lives.
Sit back and enjoy life in Rosetown.