My Father’s Words

Dear Reader,

You said that you are looking for more novels about serious topics written at an easy reading level. You already know that Patricia MacLachlan’s novels are poetry written as prose. You already know that her stories heal invisible wounds. And you know she addresses life’s biggest questions. So, here is another novel for you:

MacLachlan, Patricia. My Father’s Words. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2018.

Fiona and Finn love their father. Declan sang songs as he played basketball with them. He patiently offered words of wisdom when life was difficult. But now he is gone, killed in a car accident. Their mother buries herself in studies for a degree. Finn stops speaking. Fiona, the narrator of the story, struggles to help them all. Luke, a friend, suggests volunteering at an animal shelter. Talking to the dogs, reading to them, singing to them, and taking them on walks slowly eases their grief. Slowly, comfort comes as they remember their father’s words. 

The large font, wide margins, and wide spaces between the lines of print will enable you to read the 134 pages within a few days. When you’re finished, come tell me the words of wisdom you will keep in your memory. 

wishing you a thoughtful day,
Ms. R. 

Links to Youtube performances of Declan’s favourite song: Grant Us Peace and Dona Nobis Pacem

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.”
William Shakespeare

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Where do I belong?

Stevens, April. The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2018.
Figrotten loves nature. And she loves spending time outdoors on a big rock on a hill behind her house. She feels safe up there. Like she can truly be herself when she is there alone. But over the course of her eleventh year, she starts to see life differently. Maybe she can find friends at school, after all. Maybe her sister doesn’t hate her, after all. Maybe she can find a balance between being along and being with people.
This 196-page novel is beautifully written. Like poetry in prose. Highly recommended for thoughtful readers 10 to 13 years old.

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”  A.A Milne

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What is out there?

Edge, Christopher. The Many Worlds of Albie Bright. New York: Delacorte Press, 2017.
What happens when people die? Could they be living in a parallel universe? Grief stricken Albie, the son of two astrophysicists, embarks on a hunt to find his mother after she dies of cancer.  With the help of a laptop computer, a box and a banana, he starts travelling the universe. Silly but also heartwarming, humorous but also thought-provoking, this British novel is highly recommended for readers 10 years old and up who enjoy science and speculating about the universe. 

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“If a coin comes down heads, that means that the possibility of its coming down tails has collapsed. Until that moment the two possibilities were equal. But on another world, it does come down tails. And when that happens, the two worlds split apart.”  – Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

Finding love…

High, Linda Oatman. One Amazing Elephant. New York: Harper, 2017.

All sorts of surprises await twelve-year-old Lily when she leaves her father in West Virginia and travels to Florida to attend the funeral of her grandfather. She stays with her grandmother in a circus community. She spends time with her mother, a trapeze artist. She makes a new friend, Henry Jack. And she discovers that her grandfather’s beloved elephant, Queenie Grace, is not frightening after all. This 258-page novel told from alternating points of view is a surprising delight, a heartfelt story of finding unexpected love. Highly recommended for animal lovers 11 to 15 years old. 

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“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” – Leo Tolstoy

 

How can I live?

Jeffers, Oliver. The Heart and the Bottle. London: HarperCollins Children’s, 2010.
A poignant story in which a young girl puts her heart away so that it will be safe. The pictures reveal the loss of her father. The words tell how her struggle to live with joy again. A profound story by a master storyteller. Recommended for all ages.

More stories of grief HERE.