Wednesday, February 12, 2014

For the Love of Trees: A BIRD ON WATER STREET by Elizabeth Dulemba

Please join me in congratulating Elizabeth Dulemba on the release of her first middle grade novel A BIRD ON WATER STREET! It will be released in print this May.

What's it about?

The son of a copper miner who struggles to understand his tree-less, bug-less, bird-less world in 1980s Coppertown, Tennessee (modeled after the actual Copperhill, Tennessee) during strikes and lay-offs and the ever-present fear of having to move from the place he loves.

Jack has all sorts of adventures... and he loves trees!

Here's a couple of quotes, the first in honor of my “mystery” year:

“Now if I could just tell which trees they'd come from – the edge of the parking lot was thick with them. Most were a mystery, but the sugar maple stood out like a bright flame against the others. I stopped breathing it was so beautiful.”

Ahhh, sugar maples! One of my most favorite trees!

“I read that book over and over, dreaming of spending all my days hiking through forests, taking care of trees. The man who wrote it described how different the trunks felt, with their bumpy or smooth bark, and the spicy smell of sap, and the soft cushion of pine needles under his feet. It sounded like heaven to me.”

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? What fun it would be to spend some time identifying trees by leaf and bark. Could be a great classroom project....

The book includes a section called “Images of the Copper Basin” which shows actual photographs to give readers a clear visual of what life is like in a Company town.

Something that made me smile: the inclusion of the Appalachian vernacular “yu'uns.” I lived in those mountains several years during my childhood, and I can still remember how odd that sounded to me after years of “y'all.” :)

Congratulations, e!


  1. I, too, love that book! I just read it a couple of days ago. Such a powerful story of a vibrant community set smack dab in the middle of an area of environmental destruction so toxic that it's killing them! And Jack Hicks is a great main character - so real, so energetic, so full of teenage hopes and dreams.

  2. OMG Irene - you quoted me!!! I got chill bumps reading your reaction - truly. I'm so, so, so glad you enjoyed ABOWS!!!! Hugs, e


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