Barry Wolverton’s masterful middle-grade debut, Neversink, is an epic tale of some very un-epic birds, a fast-paced and funny story of survival, friendship, and fish, in the vein of Watership Down and Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath.
Along the Arctic Circle lies a small island called Neversink, home to a colony of odd-looking seabirds called auks, including one Lockley J. Puffin. With their oceanfront views and plentiful supply of fish, the auks have few concerns—few, save for Lockley’s two best friends, Egbert and Ruby, a know-it-all walrus and a sharp-tongued hummingbird.
But all of this is about to change. Rozbell, the newly crowned king of the Owl Parliament, has long had his scheming eyes on the small colony to the north. Now Neversink’s independence hangs in the balance. An insurgence of owls will inevitably destroy life as the auks know it—unless Lockley can do something about it.3
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Growing up in Mississippi, suffering through long, hot summers, November always felt like the first real turning into Fall and then Winter. The changing leaves, the crisp air, and yet it wasn’t too cold to enjoy bundling up and being outside. Thanksgiving also summoned forth my favorite holiday meal — my mom’s turkey and cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole and pecan pie (among other goodies). Mom and Dad always had the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on, and even better, it gradually became a tradition to have no guests except my grandparents while they were still living, and my uncle.
After I graduated from college and moved to the east coast, Thanksgiving would often be the only time I made it back home, which gave it extra significance. The only negative was that once my brother married in 1986, he began celebrating Thanksgiving with his wife’s family. It stayed that way until after our mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006. My brother called me in November of 2008 to say he had booked a flight home for Thanksgiving Day, but he hand’t told mom or dad. That morning, the Macy’s Parade blaring on multiple TVs while mom cooked, I said I was going out for a paper and came home with my older brother — the first time all four of us had celebrated Thanksgiving together in 23 years! It was amazing.
I have been writing for children for 20 years, helping create educational books, documentaries, and online content for Discovery Networks, National Geographic, the Library of Congress, Scholastic, and Time-Life Books.
My debut novel, NEVERSINK, is now available in paperback. The first book in THE VANISHING ISLAND trilogy releases in early 2015.