Thursday, September 5, 2013

My cousin wrote me the other day . . .

"When's that coyote girl book coming out?"

 “Coyote girl.” Sounds like it should take place somewhere in the southwest and involve a young Native American woman and some kind of ceremony.  Sort of a Lois Lenski Strawberry Girl vibe.

(For the record, I am NOT comparing myself to Lois Lenski.) 

It’s got a nice ring, though.  Maybe I should let my cousin name all my books from now on. 

Coyote Girl.
  Ghost/thief Girl.
Hurricane Girl.

Hmmm . . .

Well, it's too late for this series.  This is the Summerhood Island series. 

Coyote Summer, Ghost/Thief Summer, Hurricane Summer. Each book takes place over the course of a single summer.

And this first book, it’s not really about the coyotes. Just like the second is not really about the ghost/thief, and the third’s not really about a hurricane. 

Although all these things are integral to the stories.
photo n. brodeur

You see, these books are really about the girl, Jessie Silva. 

Coyotes, ghost/thieves, and hurricanes are what involve Jessie, but they aren't really what the books are about.  

The summers of a girl who lives on an island, an almost magical place where kids can still wander freely, still have adventures, still go off on their own and be safe; a place where a young girl is free to make choices and deal with their consequences without fear of predatory adults, or drive by shootings, or muggings; the feelings of a girl who grows up in those summers- that’s what the books are about.
photo matt lovell
photo a. hinson

Jessie Silva: a girl who can live the childhood you had, or wish you'd had, depending on your age and situation. A childhood most kids reading these books will never have a chance to experience. 

Because the world has changed. And maybe it never was as safe as some of us thought. Maybe the freedom we had as children was an illusion. 
malia. photo m. shaver

But not on this island. Here, in these books, in this place, even in this day and age, a girl can wander. And have adventures. And live the childhood we wish we had, the one every child should have- but can't. 

Except in books.