By Stephanie Eglinton
Our local economy is fueled in part by the many artists that are drawn to Maine for its creative spirit and sense of place. The same is true for the literary arts. Maine is home to talented writers of works for every age group and in every genre—from poets to journalists to comic strip writers. So the next time you go looking for a new read, why not consider exploring some of the works by our great local authors. Here’s a sampling of the latest books by six local authors. Happy reading!
When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood is the bestselling memoir of growing up in the paper mill town of Mexico, Maine. Wood is nine years old in 1963, when her father dies suddenly. The personal story of a family’s grief is beautifully portrayed. The story of the factory (also a character) leaves you thankful for progress like environmental protection and also pining for the sense of community in a simpler time.
Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley is a novel about an American woman living in Paris in the late 1980s. Willie Pears’ life gets complicated teaching at a detention center for immigrant girls, falling in love, and caring for her very sick brother. Conley’s detailed imagery of Paris provides the perfect backdrop for exploring themes of belonging, love, and loss.
The Waffler by Gail Donovan is a chapter book for the early reader set at an elementary school near the water in Portland, Maine. Fourth-grader Monty just can’t make up his mind about anything. Naturally, his twin sister doesn’t have this problem. You’ll route for Monty (and his pet rat) as he navigates a blended family, a tough teacher, and being true to himself.
If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen is a follow-up picture book to his popular If I Built a Car. You’ll delight in the Seussical rhymes and cool retro yet futuristic illustrations. The book is a great tool for encouraging kids to use that free app they already have—it’s called imagination.
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by conservationist Phillip Hoose is the biography of a single bird, a rufa red knot shorebird that was banded in 1995 as B95. Young (and not-so-young) adult nature lovers will marvel at the perseverance of this small bird, who continues to be spotted on his amazing migration from the tip of Argentina to the Canadian Arctic. The species is in danger of extinction, but B95 offers hope that we can make a difference in our interconnected world.
A House in the Sky is a collaboration between Amanda Lindhout and Portland writer Sara Corbett that tells Lindhout’s incredible story of being captured and held hostage in Somalia for 460 days. The book is skillfully written as a suspenseful page-turner yet at times difficult to read given the horrible events described. This intimate account of a young woman’s trauma provides insight into the power of resiliency.