A couple of weeks ago my mother and I were browsing at Lemuria Books, in Jackson, Miss., and before you know it, I was buying an extra ten pounds, at least, of weight for my suitcase. Among the cache that came home with me were Avi's The End of the Beginning, Katherine Hannigan's Ida B, and Deborah Wiles's Each Little Bird That Sings. All are chapter books for intermediate readers. I can't remember what I went into Lemuria for, but it wasn't for a novel for an eight-year-old girl. And it certainly wasn't for three novels for eight-year-old girls. See, that's what happens to me in bookstores, especially when the children's book buyer knows my mom and we get to talking and comparing notes. Then, boom, there I am in a major Northeast airport dragging my valise to the car because I cannot carry it any more.
Deborah Wiles's novel is set in Mississippi, as was her earlier, acclaimed work Love, Ruby Lavender. When I read all my tween novels, I will let you know what I think. For the mean time, you can read an excerpt of Each Little Bird That Sings in NPR's summer reading section, and then you can find out at NorthJersey.Com what Cynthia Rylant's When I Was Young in the Mountains had to do with Ms. Wiles's career.