In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

HIDDEN by Helen Frost

copyright date: May 2011
primarily marketed for: from 5th grade up

What if your parent’s car was stolen and you were in the back? OR What if your dad was a car thief and the car he stole contained a young girl?

At first, I thought the plot was reminiscent of April Henry’s Girl, Stolen.  However, Helen Frost takes the premise in a whole new direction. 

As usual, Frost tells a fascinating story from multiple viewpoints through a beautiful form of poetry that she invented especially for this book.

Wren Abbott is accidentally kidnapped when she is 8 years old.  Her kidnapper, Darra’s father is unaware that she is in the car, even after bringing the car home to his garage.  In fact, Darra is the only one other than Wren who figures out she is there.  The kidnapping is told through each girl’s eyes, in two different poetic forms. 

However, the kidnapping is only the beginning of the story of Wren and Darra.  The real truly juicy part of their story takes place six years later when the girls wind up at the same summer camp.  The coincidence is a bit far-fetched, but it plays out so satisfactorily that it is easy to suspend your disbelief. 

I was surprised by the thoughts and behavior of each girl when they find themselves face to face so many years later.  Although I am grateful to have never been in the shoes of either girl, it was sort of a fascinating experience to try on their situations through Frost’s poetry. 

In the ‘Notes of Form’ at the end of the book, she explains the trick to her poetry this time around.  Even though I enjoyed going back and noticing her hidden messages after the fact, I suggest reading about the form first.  It would probably be even better to find the messages as the story unfolds. 


  1. I have and love Spinning Through The Universe so I imagine I'll like this one too. Sounds different and intriguing.

  2. Interesting. You know, you are single handedly putting me over my amazon budget...

    I had thought of the writing institute--but what I really want to do is NCTE in November. I'll let you know what I decide