If you love literary, heartfelt middle grade, you are going to love WAITING FOR UNICORNS, by Beth Hautala. I adored 12-year-old Talia, who is still grieving the death of her mother when her whale-researcher father drags her to the frozen world of Churchill, Manitoba for the summer. The novel is chock-full of well-rounded, diverse characters, like Sura, the Inuit woman Talia must live with, and Simon, the guitar-playing 14-year-old whose bird-watching grandfather is known simply as The Birdman.
But the best thing about WAITING FOR UNICORNS? The scene that brought me to tears? Here’s a glimpse:
I stared out at the bay and spotted a tern hanging suspended over the water. And then it tucked its wings, plummeting toward the dark blue water, pulling up at the very last minute with a tiny fish in its beak.
“Do you think the first time he did that, he knew he’d be able to come back up again?” I asked. “That he wouldn’t dive straight in the water and never come out?”
“I guarantee you he did not,” the Birdman said, and he turned to look at me. “But he did it anyway, and quickly discovered he was made to plunge and rise. It’s only because of his endless plunging and rising that he can fly as far as he does. Without that, he would never be able to make the journey.”
The metaphor, of course, was meant for Talia, but it applies to all of us.Especially, I think, to writers.
Go now. Read this book. It will touch your heart.