Photos: Sue Hylen
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Art by Alyssa L., age 11
Random Thoughts on What I'm Reading
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a young adult novel by Ransom Riggs, is peculiar indeed.
Sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman is close to his grandfather, despite—or maybe because of—the strange stories Grandpa Portman tells about his earlier life. As a young boy during World War II, he escaped from the Nazis to an orphanage in Wales. When Jacob was a child, he believed his grandfather’s stories about fighting monsters. But now, as a teen, he realizes the stories were made up. Or were they?
When Grandpa Portman dies a mysterious, violent death that only Jacob witnesses, Jacob thinks he may be going crazy. With his dying breath, Grandpa Portman told Jacob, “Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man’s grave. September third, 1940.” And then he added, “Emerson—the letter. Tell them what happened, Yakob.”
Jacob has no idea what this means. To add to the mystery, he's left with his grandfather's photo albums filled with pictures of peculiar children: children who are levitating, lifting enormous rocks, or doing strange contortions. Jacob thinks the photos are fake, but he’s about to learn the truth.
Armed with these mysterious clues, Jacob leaves for a Welsh island and the remnants of the bombed-out orphanage run by Miss Peregrine, where Grandpa Portman grew up safe from the Nazis. At first Jacob assumes the house is abandoned, and searches it for clues to his grandfather’s past. When he discovers “the loop,” it leads him to a peculiar world in 1940 that he never dreamed could exist.
As Jacob fights for his sanity and survival, the peculiar children—and one in particular, Emma—become the key to understanding Grandpa Portman's past--and Jacob's future.
I was drawn into this novel by the tantalizing cover. Period photos interlaced throughout the book give it a deliciously peculiar feel. Ages 12 and up.
I'm a children's book writer, teacher, reader, walker, and bicycle rider on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Jump in and explore my writing world.
For those who are thinking ahead, check out my winter and spring 2014 classes for kids and adults. Registration opens in January, 2014.
Happy writing and reading!
I write for children and teens because I still love to take shortcuts through backyards. I’ve written several books for the school market, which are read by kids across the country. I also write short stories and poems. Currently I’m working on a young adult novel.
I grew up in the Midwest in a large extended family with over fifty cousins, so reading became a place to explore by myself. Once I discovered how great reading was, I couldn't stop. Later I began to write fiction for adults. I switched to writing for kids when I realized the audience was more fun. Along the way I sold corn at the Wisconsin State Fair, worked in a drugstore, answered phones at a used car lot, got degrees in linguistics, library science, and writing for children, and worked as a librarian and book buyer at independent bookstores.
Besides writing, I teach writing workshops for children, teens, and adults. Twice I’ve taught English to kids in Poland.
I love to walk and bicycle. Last fall I hiked the Cotswold Way in England with a friend. Closer to home, I like to walk and bike around Bainbridge Island and Seattle, discovering new neighborhoods and stopping often for coffee.
When I’m not bicycling, teaching, or taking shortcuts through yards, I’m writing and revising, revising, revising--my favorite part of creating a story. I’m in an email book club with a few of those fifty cousins. And I still read whenever I can.
Seventeen-year-old Courtney dreams about her future husband on January 20th, the Eve of St. Agnes. One problem: he's the geekiest guy at her school. Can St. Agnes help?
Elena discovers friendship, trust, and forgiveness as she learns to float.
Iris—not your typical Greek goddess—dreams of flying to the sun.
Nine-year-old Lily must move to an internment camp with her family during World War II.
Whimsical poems about a salamander, squirrel, coyote, snake, and more!
In 1960, first-grader Ruby Bridges faces an angry mob when she starts school.
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