Gloria Whelan

About Me - New Books for Young Readers - Books for Young Readers

Books for Young Readers

(Sleeping Bear Press/October 2009)
Tales of Young Americans

Ella May lives on a plantation but she doesn't live in the great house. She is a slave. It's dark in the morning when Ella May heads to the fields to pick cotton. And it's sunset when she comes home. But her day isn't done, not yet. Ella May still has important work to do. She's got to listen. Each night Ella May and her friends, Bobby and Sue, listen outside the windows of their master's house. Acting as the ears of their families, the children listen in the hopes of gleaning information about their fates and those of their loved ones. Who will be sold? Who will stay? What is happening in the rest of the country? The lives of slaves depended on the whims and inclinations of their owners. They had no control over the circumstances of their daily lives or futures. But they could dream. And when the promise of freedom is spoken a, the children are the first to hear it.

"Children are given a beginning understanding of what was expected from the slaves, with an emphasis on the work and meager living conditions, but the spirit of the community rises above, depicting the tenacity people could exhibit when facing an enslaved life. The characters wear their emotions in the expressions with Mike Benny's realistic and hauntingly beautiful illustrations, truly showing how a story can be more deeply told when the pictures match perfectly. Gloria Whelan and Mike Benny give a voice to the slave experience, and it's the wondrous, beautiful and awe-inspiring one of a child in THE LISTENERS."

-Jennifer Donovan

2010 USA Book News Honor finalist

(Sleeping Bear Press/October 2009)
Tales of the World

Eight-year-old Zulviya, her sister and her cousin, her mother and her grandmother, and their mothers and grandmothers before them…they all belong to the loom. For generations the women of Zulviya's family have earned their living by weaving rugs by hand. The rugs are beautiful and valuable, and the women are proud of their handiwork. But the work is hard. The wool must be scrubbed clean, carded between wire combs, and spun into thread, which must be dyed. Once on the loom, the work is even more laborious. It takes months to weave a rug, each one of which contains hundreds of thousands of knots. Before one workday has passed, Zulviya will tie thousands of knots. As she sits at her work, Zulviya weaves not one but two patterns. She weaves a second pattern in her mind. There she sees the green of the Afghani hills, the bright blue of the nearby lake, and the vivid orange of the setting sun. And Zulviya takes comfort in the landscape in her mind. The sights, sounds, and vibrant spirit of the Turkoman people come alive in this story of one day in the life of a young girl in Afghanistan.

2010 USA Book News Honor finalist

(Harper/Collins, June 2009)

It's the year 1900, the dawn of a new century for Verna and Carlie, whose mother died two years ago. They are headed to their new home-the grounds of an asylum for the mentally ill. Their father, a doctor, has been hired to treat its patients while the girls are under the strict and watchful eye of their aunt Maude. The towering asylum, the murmuring patients with their tormented pasts, the exquisite locked garden at the center of the grounds-Verna perceives forbidden mystery and enchantment everywhere. Even Aunt Maude's temper will not keep her from striking out on her own exciting adventures.

But is Verna ready to confront all the secrets and emotions that have been locked within-even those of her own heart?

"When her father, a well-known psychiatrist, accepts a position at a remote asylum in northern Michigan, Verna is reluctant to leave their home, which holds happy memories of her mother, who died two years earlier in 1898. Once settled into their cozy new house on the asylum grounds, though, Verna and her younger sister welcome their new life, particularly after the arrival of their young maid, Eleanor. Although she is a melancholia patient, Eleanor brings a warmth that contrasts sharply with the girls' guardian, Aunt Maude, who can be "as menacing as a hornet's nest." Tensions rise as Aunt Maude grows furiously jealous of the affection Eleanor shares with the girls, who, in turn, plot to send Maude packing. Descriptions of the sprawling, grand asylum and its mysteriously locked wings may lead readers to suppose that they've begun a gothic novel. They'll quickly realize, though, that the evocative setting is a backdrop to the sensitive, sometimes comedic family story filled with character lessons for Verna and compassionate questions about mental illness and its treatment."

-ALA Booklist

K is for Kabuki
(Sleeping Bear Press, June 2009)


Judo, origami, sushi, Samurai, Manga…with just a few words an immediate landscape is conjured:  the country of Japan.  Readers are invited to travel to faraway Japan and explore its rich history, traditions, and role in today’s world.



(Harper/Collins, February 2009)

"Peter Liebig can't wait for summer. He's tired of classrooms, teachers, and the endless lectures about the horrible Nazis. The war has been over for ten years, and besides, his town of Rolfen, West Germany, has moved on nicely. Despite its bombed-out church, it looks just as calm and pretty as ever. There is money to be made at the beach, and there are whole days to spend with Father at his job. And of course, there's soccer. Plenty for a thirteen-year-old boy to look forward to. But when Peter stumbles across a letter he was never meant to see, he unravels a troubling secret. Soon he questions everything --- the town's peaceful nature, his parents' stories about the war, and his own sense of belonging."


"...the intensity of the issues, the blend of personal conflict and historical facts, and the young teen's present-tense narrative will hold readers as Peter embraces his Judaism, attends synagogue, and confronts the prejudice that continues among classmates and adults."


(Dial Press, June 2008)

"When the police break into Silvia's home in Buenos Aires in 1976 and drag her beloved older brother, Eduardo, 17, to prison, Silvia is willing to risk anything to save him, even dating the powerful general's son, Norberto. She dreads the idea that Eduardo will become one of los Desaparecidos (the Disappeared) prisoners who are never seen again. For his part, Eduardo endures torture and worries that Silvia will also be arrested. In terse, alternating present-tense narratives, the siblings talk to one another and reveal their secret thoughts. Most moving are their family memories....readers will be held by the recent history -- many of the victims are still Disappeared -- and the teen voices personalize the political cruelty and courage."

- Booklist

"Gr 7-10 - A story set in Buenos Aires in the late 1970s. Despite its peaceful facade, Argentina is rife with guerrilla warfare and run by malevolent generals. Told in alternating chapters by two teenage siblings, the novel relates how one young person decides to stand up for his political beliefs and ideals .... The deftly handled voices of Silvia and Eduardo follow the well-intentioned, but often grievous, mistakes of youth. Their compelling tale is a chilling account of the manipulative power of corruption."

- School Library Journal

(Sleeping Bear Press, April 2008)
A Junior Literary Guild Selection
2009 IRA Teachers' Choices List - Intermediate Category

"Part of the Tales of the World fiction series, this picture book draws on seventeenth-century Japanese history, traditional art, and haiku poetry to tell the story of a young child on a 300-mile journey between the cities of Kyoto and Edo (modern-day Tokyo). Yuki hates leaving her home in Kyoto, but when the emperor summons her father, she and her mother must go, too, accompanied by more than 1,000 carriers, Award-winning illustrator, Nascimbene stays true to Yuki's childish perspective as she follows the family's journey along the narrow path over the mountains and along the river and the sea. Accompanying the simple prose narrative, are haiku, one or more on each double-page spread, that express intense feelings in clear, casual words: "Once outside the gate/ how will I find my way back? / Will home disappear?" Children will recognize Yuki's longing, and then her joy when she's able to stop looking back."

- Booklist

"...As Yuki's haiku acknowledge changes in the weather, the topography, and her own moods, Yan Nascimbene's delicate watercolor illustrations give readers visual images of the scenery, the inns and villages on the route, and the long, long, line of carriers walking ahead of her. ...The artist's flat washes and outlined shapes suggest something of Hiroshige's woodcuts. The original art in Yuki won Nascimbe a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators."

- Paper

(Harper/Collins, October 2007)

A PARADE OF SHADOWS tells one story and one lesson. It's 1907 and Julia Hamilton has talked her father into letting her accompany him on a secret mission for England's Foreign Service. They will journey to the Middle East: to Istanbul, Damascus, Palmyra and Alexandretta. Traveling with them is a young man from Oxford who supports the young Turks' efforts to overthrow the Sultan and his Ottoman Empire, a Turkish guide in the pay of the Sultan, a Frenchman who wished to acquire for France more than antiquities and a botanist whose collecting hides the biggest secret of all. There are sandstorms, travel of the Orient Express, Druse and Dervishes, a romance, a betrayal and a poisoning. There is also a lesson. You can trace today's headlines and much of today's violence in the Middle East to that time when greedy nations set out to grab for themselves their own bit of land. Turning the pages of a 1906 Baedeker's travel guide to Palestine and Syria I longed to joint those intrepid travelers. I used A PARADE OF SHADOWS to write my way there and to let others make the trip with me. When I set out I knew it would be an adventure. I didn't know it would be a lesson.

"Delivering a serious indictment of European colonialism, Whelan supplies within her tale the requisite background information to allow readers to sort through the player' competing interests. Most importantly, she carries it off with a whirl of intrigues, betrayals, attempted murder and of course, romance that should render teen readers oblivious to the fact that they're also getting a crash course in Middle Eastern history."

University of Chicago Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This satisfying read is a romantic adventure in the best tradition by a master of such stories."

- School Library Journal

"Once again, National Book Award winner Whelan (Homeless Bird) whisks us readers to another time and place to experience history in the making.....The heroine gets far more excitement than she has bargained for when she and other members of her tour group -- all of whom have hidden agendas and differing political view-- are placed in a variety of dangerous situations."

- Publishers Weekly

"Though it's an area of the world with much history and culture, Julia's early concerns are over what to pack and where she will wash her hair in the desert. The carefree and romantic trip she had imagined turns into a life-changing experience in a region in turmoil, with snakebites, a murder attempt, spies, revolutionaries, conspiracy and passion. This engaging tale of the Ottoman Empire prior to World War I teaches much history, mostly through dialogue, and has clear historical lessons for today's readers about greed and meddling in cultures without understanding them."

- Kirkus Reviews

(Sleeping Bear Press, September 2007)
A Junior Library Guild Selection

Yatandou lives in a Mali village with her family and neighbors. It is dry and dusty; the red sand is everywhere. And though she is only eight years old and would much rather play with her friend, Yantandou must sit with the women from her village and pound millet kernels. To grind enough millet for one day's food, the women must pound the kernels with their pounding sticks for three hours. It is hard work, especially when one is eight years old. As they work the women dream - they dream of a wonderful machine that can grind the millet and free them from their pounding sticks. But the machine will only come when the women have raised enough money to buy it. Yantandou must help raise money, even if it means parting with something she holds dear. Illustrations are by Peter Sylvada whose A SYMPHONY OF WHALES was named a 1999 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book.

"Yatandou, the eight-year-old narrator of this lyrical first volume in the Tales of the World series, spends long days at work in her village in Mali. As she pounds millet kernels with a stick, she daydreams about going to school, where she might 'learn book secrets like my brother did' and about the day the village women save up enough money to buy a machine to grind the millet....The text is set on a rich brick-colored background that evokes the ever-present sand ('the desert lives with us,' says Yatandou) and that successfully counterpoints the luminosity of Sylvada's impressionistic paintings."

- Publishers Weekly

"Sylvada's breathtaking artwork, paired with Whelan's vivid, poetic prose, intensifies the immediacy and emotion of Yatandou's first-person narrative and her selfless, heartrending sacrifice."

- The Bloomsbury Review

ALA Bloomer List
Junior Library Guild Selection
2007 USA Book News Honor finalist

(Harper/Collins Publishers)
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age 2007


"Summers on Turtle Island have always been perfect, an idyllic escape for Belle (14), her three siblings, parents and grandparents. Then, on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changes everything. Her dad goes to work for Ford; her mom returns to medical practice; and their teen cousin from Paris comes to stay while her father works for the London Embassy. When Caroline arrives wearing a dress and high heels, it's clear she doesn't want to be there. Belle, Emily (12), Nancy (8) and Tommy (10) try hard to include her in their summer fun and activities, but Caroline refuses to join in, remaining sulky, condescending and obstinate. There are two wars that summer - one remote and one on home territory - and both change the lives of everyone on the island. Radio broadcasts keep the overseas war distant, but the intensity of the familial one ties them all in knots. Their paradise of summer living loses its innocence when the harshness of war transforms the days that become bygone. Beautifully measured writing captures the smell of lake breezes, the feel of sand between the toes and emotional ache of growing up when change is not a choice. An exception portrayal of how war becomes personal. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
-Kirkus Reviews - June 1, 2006
Starred Review

Selected as a 2007 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan.


(Sleeping Bear Press)

The story of the building of the Mackinac Bridge through the eyes of a young boy whose family is changed forever by the miracle of the bridge.

Selected as a 2007 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan.


(Harper/Collins Publishers)

"*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. In 1919, in British East Africa, 13-year-old Rachel loses her missionary parents during an influenza epidemic. When she turns to her English neighbors for help, the Pritchards ensnare her in a shocking, ill-intentioned scheme. Disowned by their rich family, they had planned to send their daughter, Valerie, to her grandfather's estate in England, where they hoped she would help to reinstate them in his will. But after Valerie dies of flu, the Pritchards conspire to send Rachel, whose red hair matches their daughter's. Whelan creates deliciously odious villains in the Pritchard parents, who, with shameless cunning, manipulate Rachel into agreeing to the deceit. Once in England, Rachel and the perilously ill grandfather develop a surprisingly strong, affectionate bond, although she continues the ruse, believing that "one more disappointment would be the end of the old man." In a straightforward, sympathetic voice, Rachel tells an involving, episodic story that follows her across continents and through life stages as she grapples with her dishonesty, grief for her lost parents and life in Africa, and looming questions about how to prepare for grown-up life at a time when few choices were allowed to women. Gentle, nostalgic, and fueled with old-fashioned girl power, this involving orphan story will please fans of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic The Secret Garden (1912) and Eva Ibbotson's The Star of Kazan (2004). Gillian Engberg Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved."


(Sleeping Bear Press)

In December of 1850 the Detroit River would soon freeze, making it very dangerous for boats to travel. A young boy, Louis, has been put in charge of things while his father is away. Before his father left, he instructed his son: "If you don't know what to do, just do what you think I would have done."

Soon thereafter, Louis is approached by runaway slaves who ask him for help. They need Louis to row them across the river to freedom in Canada. His father had ferried many runaway slaves across the Detroit River and despite the dangers, Louis knew he had to try...

"Beautifully written and illustrated, this story of compassion and courage excels in every regard."
- Kendal Rautzhan, Times Argus


St. Petersburg Novels

(Harper Collins)

(Harper Collins)

(Harper Collins)

(Harper/Collins Publishers)

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age 2007

Katya's mother is a lady-in-waiting to the Russian Empress Alexandra. Katya and the four Romanov princesses are best friends. When the Russian revolution comes Katya follows the princesses into exile and danger. Harper Collins. 

"The book's uncomplicated language and sensitive treatment of political issues make it an excellent, vibrant introduction to the cause and effects of Tsar Nikolai's fall."
- Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"Grade 5-8-A story of a remarkable 13-year-old girl in an extraordinary situation. In Leningrad, in 1934, Marya sets out to find her parents, former aristocrats and therefore considered enemies of the state, who have been sent to Siberia as political prisoners. The spirited and resourceful girl learns that her mother is in Dudinka, a thousand miles from the closest railway station. Marya obtains a few rubles selling her paintings (like Kobe in Homeless Bird [HarperCollins, 2000], Marya's creativity helps sustain her) and buys tickets for herself and her younger brother. At the railway station, the children begin their trek, finding their way by following a river. Some strangers help them; others conspire to report them to the authorities for placement in an orphanage. A tribe of reindeer-herding Samoyeds helps the children to their final stop, where they are reunited with their mother. Papa, who had been sent to a coal-mining camp in Siberia, eventually joins them, but is so ill that he dies at the first signs of spring. Life under Stalin as seen through the eyes of Marya is accessible, well researched, and culturally insightful. Lyrical prose conveys both a strong sense of place and the tremendous love that compels the protagonist to find her parents. Once again, Whelan successfully explores territory less traveled in books for young people."

- School Library Journal

Haunting images and elegant prose make this companion to THE IMPOSSIBLE JOURNEY (2003) and ANGEL ON THE SQUARE (2001, both HarperCollins) memorable. Fourteen-year -old Georgi; his sister, Marya; and their mother live in a tiny apartment in Leningrad in 1941. As news of the advancing German army reaches the city, the residents prepare for war. Georgi, too young to join the Russian army, volunteers wherever he can. Marya works at the Hermitage museum, where she helps pack up the magnificent artwork to be shipped away for safe storage. As the German army moves closer and begins bombing, the city is cut off from outside help. Starvation sets in, and the citizens struggle to survive. Georgi, his family, and their neighbors keep hope alive by focusing on the beauty in the world, from a chocolate bar to a Shostakovich symphony. The lilting writing style and simple dignity of the characters help construct an honest portrait of everyday life in extraordinary circumstances. From the renowned poet Ann Akhmatova reading her work on the radio to the first bloom of spring flowers, the people cling to visions of light. The plot moves quickly, but the bleak details of war are not spared. The staunch determination of the human spirit will linger with readers long after the last page is turned.
-School Library Journal, Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH

Grade 5-8 – In 1991, 17-year-old Tanya is encouraged by Vera, another member of the Kirov Ballet Corps, to defect with her when the company goes on tour to Paris. The teens come from very different backgrounds. Veras family is rich because of her fathers black-market dealings, while Tanyas family has sacrificed a lot to allow her to pursue her career. Vera dreams of escaping the dreariness of the Soviet Union, while her friend thinks of defection as a way to better her career opportunities. Tanyas personal turmoil and worries are mirrored in the political strife around her. Her grandfather has always been politically active, and there is great excitement as the struggle for power goes on between Gorbachev and Yeltsin. The author has successfully woven Russian history and culture into this story. The day-to-day rivalries and jealousies among the dancers at the ballet company are believable enough to hold readers interest. There is also a hint of romance between Tanya and a talented artist who is almost caught up in some illegal art dealings to pay for the medicine his grandmother needs. Tanya is an appealing, thoughtful heroine whose political awareness and integrity will encourage readers to think about the importance of decisions and events in peoples lives. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal, Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA

(Harper Collins)

When a girl is born to Chu Ju's family, it is quickly determined that the baby must be sent away. The law states that a family may have only two children, and Chinese tradition favors a son. Chu Ju, cannot bear to see the little sister she has grown to love, snatched away and sold like a bag of rice. Knowing that one girl must leave, Chu Ju sets out in the middle of the night. This is the story of her journey.

"This tale of survival and self-sacrifice gives a graphic portrayal of authoritarian rule, but emphasizes the strength and compassion that can endure even among the oppressed, and Whelan skillfully shows the perspectives of both sides of the revolution. Facing one test of courage after another, Chu Ju emerges as a heroine worthy of the rare and coved rewards she ultimately receives." 
- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Whelan tells a compelling adventure story, filled with rich cultural detail, about a smart, likable teenage girl who overcomes society's gender restrictions. Whelan skillfully weaves in just enough cultural context to support the story, while her atmospheric details bring the green Chinese landscape to life. Most compelling, though, is brave, clearly drawn Chu Ju, who intelligence and good heart win her land, family respect, and the promise of romance by the story's end." 
- Booklist

"Well-done and convincing." 
- Kirkus Reviews

FRUITLANDS: Louisa May Alcott Made Perfect
(Harper Collins)

When Louisa May Alcott was eleven her parents joined a very strange group of people at a farmhouse called Fruitlands. The diary Louisa kept during the eight months at Fruitlands is missing. Based on research about those months I have imagined what that diary might have said about Louisa's amazing adventures.

"This is a fine work of fiction, very close in spirit and substance to young Louisa's experience at Fruitlands. Gloria Whelan's moving portrayal is quite true to the original."
- Mary Fuhrer, Historian, Fruitlands Museum

"Louisa May Alcott fans will relish this fictionalized account of the Alcotts' stay at Fruitlands, a commune where Louisa's transcendentalist father and his friend, Mr. Lane, conducted their famous not-so-successful experiment in forming a perfect community. Whelan (Angel on the Square; Homeless Bird) structures the novel as two sets of journal entries based on Alcott's own childhood writings: "In the first diary there will be Louy, who will try to be just what Mother and Father would wish. In the second diary there will be Louisa, just as she is," a sentiment that will vindicate many an aspiring journal-keeper. The first-person narratives vividly capture Louisa's wit, feisty spirit and keen powers of observation. The entries intended to be shared with Mother and Father give an insightful overview of the commune, where naturalists gather to better themselves. They also reveal Louisa's ongoing struggle to meet the commune leaders' lofty expectations by denying herself small pleasures: "We are not to eat butter or rob hens of their eggs. I will do all that I can to curb my coarse appetites." The private pages, penned in the "leafy tent" of a willow tree, offer a more in-depth study of commune members' quirks and foibles, as well as a hilarious critique of others' success or failure in practicing what they preach. ("Mr. Lane is to teach us all how we are to improve ourselves. I watched him stride along behind the wagon, his head up, his chin out, proud of walking while others rode. He did not look like a man who thought he needed improvement"). This meticulously researched book reveals Whelan's depth of understanding and respect for Louisa May Alcott's outlook on life and relationships with others. A marvelous companion for the 19th-century author's semi-autobiographical Little Women. Ages 8-12."
- Publishers Weekly

(Sleeping Bear Press, September 2002)

There is no money for Holly's winter coat. Mama says, "When I was Holly's age I missed school half the winter, Ever since, my learnings got big holes in it. I'll find the money somewhere."

Papa throws her a look. "You going to hunt for it in the woods?" "Yes, sir," Mama says, snappy-like. "There's plenty in the woods free for the taking." Join Holly and Nellie in the woods and see what they found.

"K-Gr. 2. A beautiful story with threads of family devotion, love of learning, and perseverance woven through it like shot silk. There's no money on the northern Michigan farm for Holly to get a warm coat and boots, but Holly's mother is determined that Holly will go to school during the winter. From spring to late summer, Holly and her mother pick wild strawberries, Juneberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, turning them into jam and jelly. Holly works alongside her mom, noticing the waxwings and the dragonflies, the milkweed and the butterflies. Dad builds a stand to sell the wares; just before school, the shelves are empty and the money jar is full. The coat keeps Holly warm while waiting for the school bus, but so do the memories of summer picking and the scent of berries. The artist has painted each picture full-bleed across the double-spreads, using saturated colors and patterned brushstrokes that echo Impressionists Monet and Renoir as well as the golden landscapes of Dutch painters."
- Booklist

Winner of the 2003 National Outdoor Book Award

National Parenting Publications 2003 Honors Award

Finalist 2003 Great Lakes Booksellers Award

Merit Award Winner 2003 Midwest Independent Publishers Association


(Harper Collins)

When HOMELESS BIRD received the National Book Award, the citation read: Married at thirteen to a dying child she has never met, Koly's life begins a seemingly inexorable downward spiral into poverty and isolation. Abandoned in a city of temples and white sari-clad widows, the young girl discovers opportunities and savage crimes, those who would help her and those who would exploit her. It is a story told clearly and without extravagance, somber in the way in which it confronts the difficulties of Koly's life, and yet radiant with hope.

"An insightful, beautifully written, culturally illuminating tale of universal feelings in which riches are measured not in monetary wealth but in happiness and personal fulfillment."
- Booklist, starred review


(Harper Collins)

In the summer of 1812 British soldiers take over Mackinac Island from the Americans. Mary O'Shea and her sister, Angelique, her brother, Jacques and their friend White Hawk must find a way to survive the rugged land and the enemy soldiers. FAREWELL TO THE ISLAND and RETURN TO THE ISLAND tell the further adventures of Mary and her friends. Harper Collins.

"Whelan's smooth writing, vivid characters, and strong sense of place make this a good choice for libraries and a treasure for ones in the Great Lakes area."
- Booklist

(Thunder Bay Press)
Mary sets out on an adventurous trip across the Atlantic, upsetting the captain, winning surprising friends among the crew and ending up in a castle.

"Though her writing might at first seem to be the simple telling of an interesting tale for young  adults, there is, beneath it all, a far more complex story about a strong young woman finding her way through class and racial prejudices, making choices that will ultimately bring her happiness." 
- Traverse City Record Eagle

(Harper Collins)
Will Mary choose a life of elegance in England with James or will she remain on her beloved Mackinac 
Island and wait for White Hawk?

"The plot gets most interesting when a suitor Mary met in her travels comes to the island with the hope of winning her heart; readers are kept wondering if the adventurous young woman will choose to stay home with a native leader or return to England to marry the son of a duchess."
- School Library  Journal

THE PATHLESS WOODS: Ernest Hemingway's Sixteenth Summer in Northern Michigan
(Thunder Bay Press)
Ernest Hemingway's sixteenth summer at Walloon Lake in northern Michigan brings changes that will last 
him the rest of his life. Camping out in the woods across the lake, he confronts poachers, fights a 
forest fire, and struggles for independence from his family.

"A rich relevant book that successfully weaves personal, literary and natural history." The Detroit 
News. "Whelan's smooth writing makes for smooth reading. Perceptive unobtrusive observations, such as those about the bravura of adolescent boys and the truth behind it, make the book particularly unusual and valuable." 

- School Library Journal

Twelve-year-old Lily Star loves the Sandy River, which flows through the small northern Michigan town where she has lived all of her life, but she can't forgive the river. She is angry at the river because it was where her father died -- and after that her whole life changed.

"Lily is as irresistible as a force of nature."
- Kirkus Reviews

(Thunder Bay Press)
In 1838 families of slaves have found a welcome in the southern Michigan town of Marshall. Based on a true story the Crosswhites must find a way to escape from the slave catchers who come from Kentucky to  take them back to slavery.

A finalist for the Midland Authors' Award


(Bethlehem Books)
On the day before Christmas in a small Russian village Alexi's babushka tells him what Christmas was like when she was a girl -- before the soldiers came. "Our church was a crowded as a pod full of peas. Candles made the church as bright as the sunniest day. Watching over us was the blessed icon of St. Nicholas." His babushka tells Alexi it would take a miracle to re-open the church, but that doesn't stop Alexi.

"Religion and history unite in this inspiring story about the rebirth of an abandoned church."
- Publishers Weekly

(Random House)


(Random House)

"Historical fiction at an easy level is hard to find, and this pioneer smoothly written and  appealing."

- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

"Told in simple, well-chosen language, this satisfying chapter book is as captivating as any in the Little House series, but far more exciting and thought-provoking with regard to historical events and the not-so-rosy aspects of settler-Native American relations."
- Publishers Weekly, starred review.

About the Oriole series: "Whelan uses action, integrated plot, and well-drawn characters to  personalize history."
- School Library Journal

(Harper Collins)
It is the autumn of 1839 and Lucy, an orphan, has come to live with her aunt and uncle, who run a  mission school for Indian children. Aunt Emma is STERN and has rules for everything; she gives the students American names and dresses them in drab mission clothes. Uncle Edward tells them that the old ways are gone, and now they must fit into the white man's world. Lucy cannot understand why the Indians are the ones who must do the changing.

"Teachers in search of fiction tie-ins to Native American units will welcome this."
- Booklist

Illness sends fifth-grade Elsa away from her home in the city to spend the summer with her German  grandparents on the shores of Lake Huron. She must learn to find excitement in "empty" places. She tends her own garden, fishes on the big lake, explores a mysterious gully, learns to walk barefoot and to pick wild berries and makes a good friend. The country is no longer an empty place.

"Images shine like spots of color: the girl dancing to her grandfather's violin; the taste of wild  berries, and potatoes fried with bacon; the smell of fish on her hands. The drama here is that of  days passing and of Elsa growing to understand more of the world and the people around her. A gentle, authentic slice of childhood with the timeless feel of summer."
- School Library Journal

Thirteen-year-old Clair Lothrop's world is falling apart. Her mother has died, and her father is  taking her from her school and all of her friends to the woods of northern Michigan. Clair is so angry  she stops talking. But everything changes when Clair discovers a wonderful new friend her own age, Dorrie, who lives alone in the woods to avoid her alcoholic father.

A Children's Choice Book

Mai and her family must flee Vietnam, first on foot through the swamplands of the Mekong Delta, and  then by sea, in a tiny boat crowded with other refugees and threatened by pirates. Once in Hong Kong  they must survive the crowded refugee camp and the threat of being returned to Vietnam.

"Readers will be introduced to elements of a new culture and made painfully aware of social conditions in other parts of the world."
- Publisher's Weekly. Starred review.

(Knopf )
Nine-year-old Hannah would do almost anything to go to school but the year is 1887, Hannah is blind, and her parents keep her home. Then a strong-minded teacher comes to town.

"A touching, believable story with strong characterization and sense of place."

- The HORN Book

(Random House)
Rachel dreams of racing huskies one day, just like her father. When he gives her a tiny puppy for her birthday she vows to make him the fastest lead dog in Alaska. Then one day her puppy disappears. Rachel sets out to find him in a snow storm. An eerie howling breaks the silence. Rachel realizes she is tracking a wolf!

"Whelan's vivid words of a child's view of an Alaskan winter are complemented by Marchesi's  affectionate illustrations. Though an easy chapter book, Whelan's mature tone will also appeal to  older and perhaps reluctant, readers."
- Booklist