- Reading level: Ages 8 and up
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2011)
- ISBN-10: 054516561X
Book DescriptionCritically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a haunting story of friendship and family and the power of faith, once again set against the lush backdrop of the Lousiana bayou.After her mother walked out on Shelby Jayne and her dad, Shelby thought she'd never speak to her mamma again. But with her dad leaving the country for work, it turns out she doesn't have a choice: Shelby has to move back into her mamma's house, deep in the heart of the Louisiana bayou.
Her new classmates tease and torment her, so Shelby's relieved to finally find a friend in Gwen, a mysterious girl who lives alone on the bayou. But Shelby can't help wondering if Gwen has something to do with the puzzling messages she finds hidden in the blue bottle tree behind her house. The only person who might be able to explain is her mamma -- but Shelby's not ready to ask. Not yet. It may take a brush with something from the beyond to help Shelby see that the power to put her own ghosts to rest is within her reach.
My Review: What I Think
Last year I read one of the most incredible books, called The Healing Spell. It had such charm and substance to the story, and was based in the bayou of Louisiana. The story was full of strong characters and Cajun magic. Kimberley's newest book, Circle of Secrets, is no different. It also has that magical feel to the story; this time it includes ghosts, real and figuratively. Though there is a feeling of awe and mystery concerning the ghost, there is nothing there that would scare someone younger reading this story.
I love the beautiful words that Kimberley writes. I keep post-it notes by my side as I read. I then mark the passages that really hit me and have meaning. This passage was one of my favorites from Circle of Secrets...
"Giving a gift or a charm is about both people...the one giving the gift and the one receiving it. A Gift is powerful because of the hearts of the giver and the receiver."
Another aspect I love about Kimberley's writing is how well she brings a scene to life with her colorful words. You forget you are reading a story and see the images played in your mind as a movie. Here is an example...
"And the bridge is starting to move. It's swaying back and forth as the force of the churning, rising water pounds against the pilings. The whole pier shudders from the power of the river...An instant later there's a flash of lightning overhead. A series of yelps and screams comes from the kids and suddenly the entire bridge is jolting up and down and side to side as the group runs for the bank. I turn to run, too, but it's too slippery and I go crashing to my knees, banging my elbows."
Kids and adults will both like this story. Though the main character is 11 year old Shelby, the reader also gets to know Shelby's mother Mirage. Both characters have struggles with reconciling what has happened in the past, and how they need to accept each other in order to have a future together.
Circle of Secrets is beautifully written, with sweet southern charm, and a story of renewed love between a mother and a daughter.
If you would like to know more about Kimberley and her awesome books, please go to her website here.
Kimberley won a Whitney Award for her book The Healing Spell. I was there the night that she won a Whitney. I was so happy for her!!
Here is the award she won...
Here I am with Kimberley after I interviewed her about her win.