Saturday, December 31, 2016

Debbie--have you seen THE CRYING ROCKS by Janet Taylor Lisle?

A colleague wrote to ask if I've seen anything about Janet Taylor Lisle's The Crying Rocks. It is due out in May of 2017 from Simon and Schuster.

Here's the description:

From Newbery Honor author Janet Taylor Lisle comes a lyrical story about one girl’s discovery of her startling past—and her search to understand her complicated present.
Joelle’s height and dark skin set her apart from everyone in Marshfield. It’s no secret that she’s adopted, but where is she from? Aunt Mary Louise says she came from Chicago on a freight train, but the story doesn’t sit right with Joelle. There’s something more. She feels it.
Carlos, the quiet boy in Joelle’s Spanish class, sees it. When he tells her that she looks like a girl in the town library’s old mural of Narragansett Indians, Joelle can’t help sneaking a look. She’s surprised by a flicker of recognition. And when Carlos tells her about the Crying Rocks, where the ghosts of Narragansett children are said to cry for their lost mothers, Joelle knows she must visit them.
When they finally set out through the forest, neither she nor Carlos anticipates the power of the ancient place, or the revelations to be found there—about the pasts they’ve both buried, and the discovery of a rare kind of courage that runs deep in Joelle’s family.

As I started some of the background research about the book, I went to Lisle's website and saw that it isn't a new book. It got awards and honors in 2004 and 2006. Here's an excerpt Lisle has on her website:
“What was that?” Carlos asks.
Joelle listens but hears nothing, only the sound of wind kicking branches overhead. "What?”
“A scream. Did you hear it?”
She shakes her head. "No. Nothing."
Carlos listens again. “Somewhere over there is a mass of glacial boulders called the Crying Rocks.” His face, in shadow, has taken on a stern, gaunt look. For the first time, Joelle sees, or imagines she sees, a vague outline of his Indian ancestry—something about his nose and the slope of his forehead. He is gazing intently into the forest.
“The story is that when you pass by these rocks at certain times, you hear children crying,” he says.
“Children! What children?”
Around them, tree shadows flick and twist.
“Ghosts of Indian children,” Carlos says. “They were killed there or something. A long time ago.”
“It's getting so dark,” Joelle murmurs.
In that moment an eerie feeling descends on them both.
“Let's get out of here,” Carlos whispers.
Why is it being republished? Did it get revised? Or is it being reissued with a new cover, with expectations that in this moment of diverse books, it'll do well? It isn't an #OwnVoices story... and what I read of that excerpt... well, let's say I'm not optimistic.

Here's an old cover and the new one:

If I hadn't done this background research, I might have bought the book when I don't need to... my library likely has a copy. If I read it, I'll be back.

Update (same day) -- a quick note: Some of the book is available online. I read that Carlos is "about one sixteenth or something" Sioux from "out West" (p. 15).

1 comment:

Ms. Anna said...

That new cover looks very similar to Julie Flett's art style. Curious.