Orphans of Stone HomeComing by Rae Craig is a Celebrate Mothers pick #mglit #middlegrade #mothersday
Title: Orphans of Stone: HomeComing
Author: Rae Craig
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy with a seasoning of Cozy Mystery
When Harriet’s twin brother dies, half of her dies too.
But in Shi-octon Valley anything is possible.
Twelve-year-old Harriet feels guilty when her twin brother Clarence dies, both for not saving him and for still being alive. After she recovers from the concussion she got in the accident, she moves with her mom and dad back to their ancient family home in the mysterious Shi-octon Valley.
There, with her Grandma Hoier’s guidance, Harriet discovers she has strange connections to people both past and present- including her dead twin brother.
As she learns how she fits into this new world, she also learns to live without Clarence, making strong ties to family, friends and when she allows herself, to the essence of who Clarence was.
Readers ages 9-13 will live with Harriet as she discovers who she is in mysterious Shi-octon Valley.
All ages will enjoy Harriet’s journey.
Harriet felt a strong urge to tell Dana about Ella’s odd behavior, because it would be such a comfort to share her worries, but he was still a stranger, despite her sense of trust.
His pie finished, Dana unfolded his long body from sitting to standing, dusting crumbs off his pants.
Harriet drew in a breath to thank him, but instead swung around in alarm.
“That’s the problem! She has to do it! She doesn’t have a choice!” Blunt shouts broke the quiet. Theo Laird stood with hands splayed stiffly out from her sides, shouting up into Dad’s astonished face. He spotted Harriet.
“I disagree. She does have a choice.” He calmly motioned his daughter over. Dana stood by a few steps away.
Dad said, “Harriet, Theo has an interesting offer for you.”
Harriet turned from Dad to the wild haired woman, reminding herself that Grandma said Theo Laird had good intentions.
“I heard you telling stories to that gangly boy.” Barked Theo, “You have the gift and you must be taught and I’m the only one left to do it.” She reached over to touch Harriet’s shoulder with surprising tenderness. “Midweek. Arrive at the ferry house after lunch. Your voice is full of magnificent connections. Bard training is absolutely necessary!”
Harriet’s thoughts bounced around. Magnificent connections--what was that? Bard training--like telling stories to little kids? Was the ferry house that lonely white house under the river bridge?
Helen stepped up next to her granddaughter. “Theo, you have this poor girl totally confused.” She explained to Harriet. “We have a long barding tradition in Shi-octon. Only certain people can tell our stories well and Theo says you’re one of them.”
Everyone waited for her answer. Mom looked concerned but hopeful as she walked up next to Dad. She encouraged Harriet with a smooth lipped smile.
Harriet turned back to Theo and stated. “I’ll be there.”
Theo Laird nodded briskly, got in her truck and drove away. Today no howling dogs accompanied the engine’s roar.
Grandma said. “Theo has always caused a stir. But her storytelling is unforgettable.” The adults left to help new customers.
Dana had hung back, but now approached. “You’re lucky. I’ve heard Theo Laird bard a story and I will never forget it. I became part of the story. I lived in it.”
She must try hard to be polite. “Thank you, Dana, for your help with the stools. I’ll see you soon.”
He turned and walked away, but quickly swung back to stand directly in front of Harriet. She looked at him curiously. He obviously wanted to say something.
“What is it?” She needed to help Grandma.
He looked into her eyes while he transferred a smooth, stick-like object from his closed hand into her open palm. “You shut your eyes when Dad talked to you. He is intense.” He dipped his head toward her hand. “You will need this.”
She looked down----the black marker she had hurled into the woods rested in her hand.
She raised her head to ask him she didn’t know what, but he had walked away without another word.
Mom had overheard as she helped her customer load his car. She asked Harriet. “Are your eyes bothering you? Did Dana Rethic’s dad upset you?”
“No, I’m fine. It’s just I can’t get rid of this feeling that I know Hetric Rethic, and it’s frustrating. I probably acted brainless, but not rude.” She had had some issues with rude in the past. Not because she intended rudeness, but because she did not know the right thing to say.
Mom said, “I’m sure you’re just getting used to living here. Meeting new people can be confusing.”
“Whatever it is, I don’t like it.”
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We need more middle-grade novels in the storytelling tradition of A Wrinkle in Time and Anne of Green Gables, but with more diverse characters.
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When I was 8 my dad built a treehouse in the woods behind our house.
I did the loudest Tarzan yell in the village, so I was usually Tarzan when my friends came over. Making up stories for the jungle adventure movies we pretended to make was the most fun of all. Even back then I enjoyed arranging ideas into stories.
Later, to help me figure out how people work together to build communities, I earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Cincinnati.
I am blessed with a family that saved every bit of information and memorabilia from our ancestors. But, I did not want to just slog through more family research, I wanted to arrange it all into stories.
Now, I would like to share those stories with you: The Orphans of Stone middle grade fantasy series.
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