Rising Above Shepherdsville


How would you feel if you got in the car and drove off to the championship spelling bee knowing that something was wrong with your mama, hearing that little voice, feeling that tiny niggle that said things just weren't right and telling you to stay home?  What if you came home after the spelling bee and discovered that the voice was telling you the truth and that your mama was gone?  For Dulcie, knowing that she didn't listen, knowing she didn't tell the grownups who asked her, well....it's taken Dulcie's voice away and she is now a mute.

Dulcie is going to spend the summer with her Aunt Bernie, her mother's older sister, in Shepherdsville, Ohio, in the middle of cornfields.  Sometimes life hands you something hard... maybe even too hard .... but for Aunt Bernie has a plan and she is going to seek salvation for her twelve-year-old niece and that means taking her to church and putting her in the hands of Reverend Love.

How do you find your way back from that kind of hopelessness when you watch the other kids bully the weak, when you are taunted and called dumb in the basement of the church for heaven's sake, and when you watch the adults around you flaunting their wealth, abusing their children, and exercising their prejudice.

This is a story of healing and of finding enough goodness and love in the world to make you love life again. This author notices all the little things in the world around us that we see everyday and shows us that they are magical, miraculous and amazing.  For every child who knows the ugliness, here is a story of the people who make the difference no matter what hardships and pain their own lives have held.

This is Dulcie's journey back to her voice and to herself.  It's a tender, perceptive journey with an underpinning of faith and truth and some great characters named Evangeline, Faith, Reverend Love, Jason, Bean and Ray.  Each and everyone of them knows the darkness and together they open Dulcie back up to the light and the love.  A beautiful, tear-stained, redemptive read.

304 pages        978-1481452830           Ages 8-12

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com


In the tradition of The Higher Power of Lucky and Because of Winn Dixie, a young girl deals with her mother’s suicide in this riveting debut novel that explores love, loss, family, friendship, and redemption.

In the summer of 1977, twelve-year-old Dulcie Louise Dixon arrives on the doorstep of her Aunt Bernie’s farmhouse in Shepherdsville, Ohio, with no voice, a spelling bee trophy, a Webster’s Dictionary, and a box full of ashes. She tries to adjust to her new situation, but can’t forget the words she left behind or the mother she’s lost to suicide.

One day, Dulcie discovers a secret place: a swan’s nest in the woods where at last, her broken world begins to mend. With the help of her surprising new friends—a guitar-playing runaway, a poetry-loving preacher, a one-armed gas station attendant, a singing seamstress, a chained-up hunting dog, and a family of swans—Dulcie is finally able to rise out of her sadness and grief to find her voice once again.--from the publisher

304 pages        978-1481452830           Ages 8-12

Keywords:  grief, suicide, moving, relatives, friendship, healing, empathy, empowerment, encouragement, redemption, love, loss, family

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