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About Patricia MacLachlan
In Her Own Words..."One thing I've learned with age and parenting is that life comes in circles. Recently, I was having a bad time writing. I felt disconnected. I had moved to a new home and didn't feel grounded. The house, the land was unfamiliar to me. There was no garden yet. Why had I sold my old comfortable 1793 home? The one with the snakes in the basement, mice everywhere, no closets. I would miss the cold winter air that came in through the electrical sockets."
"I had to go this day to talk to a fourth-grade class, and I banged around the house, complaining. Hard to believe, since I am so mild mannered and pleasant, isn't it? What did I have to say to them? I thought what I always think when I enter a room of children. What do I know?"
"I plunged down the hillside and into town, where a group of fourth-grade children waited for me in the library, freshly scrubbed, expectant. Should I be surprised that what usually happens did so? We began to talk about place, our living landscapes. And I showed them my little bag of prairie dirt from where I was born. Quite simply, we never got off the subject of place. Should I have been so surprised that these young children were so concerned with place, or with the lack of it, their displacement? Five children were foster children, disconnected from their homes. One little boy's house had burned down, everything gone. 'Photographs, too,' he said sadly. Another told me that he was moving the next day to place he'd never been. I turned and saw the librarian, tears coming down her face."
"'You know,' I said. 'Maybe I should take this bag of prairie dirt and toss it into my new yard. I'll never live on the prairie again. I live here now. The two places could mix together that way!' 'No!' cried a boy from the back. 'Maybe the prairie dirt will blow away!' And then a little girl raised her hand. 'I think you should put that prairie dirt in a glass bowl in your window so that when you write you can see it all the time. So you can always see what you knew first.'"
"When I left the library, I went home to write. What You Know First owes much to the children of the Jackson Street School: the ones who love place and will never leave it, the ones who lost everything and have to begin again. I hope for them life comes in circles, too."
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This beloved Newbery Medal–winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan's chapter book series about the Witting family.
Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna's point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa's advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay?
This children's literature classic is perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books, historical fiction, and timeless stories using rich and beautiful language, and it's a strong choice for independent reading. Sarah, Plain and Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss, and love.
This anniversary edition includes author Patricia MacLachlan's Newbery speech, a discussion guide, and a reading list.
Read the rest of the Sarah books by Patricia MacLachlan: Skylark, Caleb’s Story, More Perfect than the Moon, and Grandfather’s Dance.
The third book in the series that began with the Newbery Medal–winning Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.
Anna has done something terrible. She has given me a journal to fill.
"It's your job now," Anna says as she hands Caleb her journals, asking him to continue writing the family story. But Sarah, Jacob, Anna, Caleb, and their new little sister, Cassie, have already formed a family, and Caleb fears there will be nothing left to write about. That is, before Cassie discovers a mysterious old man in the barn, and everything changes. Everyone is excited about the arrival of a new family member—except for Jacob, who holds a bitter grudge. Only the special love of Caleb, and the gift he offers, can help to mend the pain of the past.
The second book in the series that began with the Newbery Medal–winning Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.
My mother, Sarah, doesn't love the prairie. She tries, but she can't help remembering what she knew first.
Sarah came to the prairie from Maine to marry Papa. But that summer, a drought turned the land dry and brown. Fires swept across the fields and coyotes came to the well in search of water. So Sarah took Anna and Caleb back east, where they would be safe. Papa stayed behind. He would not leave his land.
Maine was beautiful, but Anna missed home, and Papa. And as the weeks went by, she began to wonder what would happen if the rains never came. Would she and Caleb and Sarah and Papa ever be a family again?
The fifth book in the series that began with the Newbery Medal–winning Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.
Jack leans back on Grandfather's shoulder. Aunt Mattie's knitting needles click in the dark. The moon rises. The candle flickers in the gentle prairie wind. I close my eyes to keep everything there.
Could anything be more perfect than a prairie wedding? Cassie Witting doesn't think so, for her sister Anna's wedding brings two lovebirds together, aunts from faraway Maine, a long white dress with a wedding veil, dancing under a clear blue sky, and a world that smells of roses.
As the Witting family comes together for this most special day, Cassie sees that life brings the change of seasons, brother Jack on Grandfather's lap, joy, sorrow, and a special dance only Grandfather does.
The fourth book in the series that began with the Newbery Medal–winning Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.
I am a watcher. I am a listener, too. I am invisible. I can make myself so small and quiet and hidden that sometimes no one knows I am there to watch and listen.
Cassie spends her days watching Grandfather and Caleb in the barn, looking out at Papa working the fields, spying on her mother, Sarah, feeding the goslings. She's an observer, a writer, a storyteller. Everything is as it should be.
But change is inevitable, even on the prairie. Something new is expected, and Sarah says it will be the perfect gift. Cassie isn't so sure. But just as life changes, people change too. And Cassie learns that unexpected surprises can bring great joy.
Arthur Rasby is ten years old and having the worst summer of his life. His parents don't listen to him, so he writes everything down -- everything that's real -- in his journal. But when he goes to stay with his Great-Aunt Elda and Great-Uncle Wrisby on their farm, his world is turned upside down. For the first time Arthur wonders what's real and what's not.
His aunt and uncle do things Arthur's parents would never do -- like climbing out windows to sit in trees, singing to their pet pig, and speaking French to a pet chicken. Life on the farm happens much too fast to write down -- sometimes wonderful, sometimes terrible. Arthur begins to understand there is more than one way of seeing and doing and loving. And he realizes there's a whole world just waiting to be discovered.
From Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help one another survive loss and recapture love.
3 starred reviews. "Just what I needed," raves Brightly. "It's a heart-warming story of loss and love that filled me with hope for a better future and renewed my belief in good."
Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read aloud and the comforting clicking of a keyboard. Although Teddy understands words, Sylvan always told him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.
Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy’s words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone.
As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost?
Although times are hard, the Aldens are happy—“the best family of all,” Mama likes to say. One day, a blizzard hits the countryside, and a traveling family needs shelter. The Aldens take them in, and the strangers soon become friends. But things never stay the same at the farm, and the spring and summer bring events that will forever change their lives.
Newbery Award–winning author Patricia MacLachlan pays loving tribute to the classic novels by Gertrude Chandler Warner in this story of the Alden children’s origins.
Lois Duncan presents a ticking clock mystery with thrills at every turn.
This edition features updated text and an exclusive Q&A with author Lois Duncan!
An inspirational short novel for young readers about the power of writing by Newbery Medal–winning author Patricia MacLachlan.
Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class—bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.
From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes an honest, inspiring story about what is real and what is unreal, and about the ways that writing can change our lives and connect us to our own stories—word after word after word.
He has a life filled with art, music, and long summer nights on the Cape. He has hours and days and months of baseball. But, more than anything in this world, Jake knows he has Edward. From the moment he was born, Jake knew Edward was destined for something. Edward could make anyone laugh and everyone think. During one special year, he became the only one in the neighborhood who could throw a perfect knuckleball. It was a pitch you could not hit. That same year, Jake learned there are also some things you cannot hold.
Patricia MacLachlan, one of the most beloved children's book authors writing today, has painted a deeply stirring, delicately lyrical portrait of a child, a son, a family, and a brother. Through Edward's eyes, we see what gifts all of these things truly are to those around them, and how those gifts live on and grow.
Everyone in Lucy’s family sings. Opera. Rap. Lullabies. Everyone, except Lucy. Lucy can’t sing; her voice won’t come out.
Just like singing, helping Aunt Frankie prepare for flooding season is a family tradition—even if Frankie doesn’t want the help. And this year, when the flood arrives and danger finds its way into the heart of Lucy’s family, Lucy will need to find her voice to save her brother.
“Filled with little moments of quiet wisdom and gentle humor, Newbery winner MacLachlan's story about family love soars” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).