This week, I’m excited to review Alexis O’Neill’s latest, THE KITE THAT BRIDGED TWO NATIONS. Alexis was the long-time Regional Advisor for SCBWI’s Central Coast Chapter in California. I love her for always encouraging and inspiring new writers like me.
TITLE: The Kite That Bridged Two Nations
AUTHOR: Alexis O’Neill
ILLUSTRATOR: Terry Widener
PUBLICATION INFO: Calkins Creek, 2013
INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 8 to 11
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“Whenever wind lifted off the river and sent the trees to dancing,
I’d itch to fly a kite.”
From the publisher: “Homan Walsh loves to fly his kite. And when a contest is announced to see whose kite string can span Niagara Falls, Homan is set on winning, despite the cold and the wind—and even when his kite is lost and broken. Homan’s determination is beautifully captured in this soaring, poetic picture book that features Terry Widener’s stunning acrylic paintings. Both author and illustrator worked with experts on both sides of the falls to accurately present Homan Walsh’s story. The book also includes an extensive author’s note, timeline, bibliography, and further resources.”
THEMES/TOPICS: history, kites
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Alexis unearthed an amazing true story and transformed the tale into tantalizing poetry. Her rhythmic, lyrical language mimics the rushing river and crashing falls of the great Niagara Falls. This book is a joy to read out loud. Also, Alexis did an incredible job researching this true story. Her author’s note makes clear what we know for sure and what she invented for the sake of the story.
RESOURCES: Alexis lists quite a few in her back matter:
- Learning through kites at Aeolus Curricula
- American Kitefliers Association
- Niagara Falls State Park
- Use kitchen supplies to make your own kite at National Geographic
You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!
23 thoughts on “PPBF: The Kite That Bridged Two Nations”
Kirsten, I love that this is based on a true story. The lyrical language and illustrations must contribute significantly to the story. Also like that this book is for older kids. Great share!
Pat, I think younger kids could enjoy it too. My seven-year-old did. But it is a bit longer than most fiction picture books.
Okay I have to read this now…
Water and poetry – I’m all over it! I shall look out for this, thanks Kirsten.
Alexis just amazes me with her lyrical style. She’s truly a gifted writer.
Sounds like a wonderful read, Kirsten. One of my goals this year is to read more non-fic picture books. Thanks for sharing.
This is definitely one to add to your list. I typed it out as a mentor text to learn about structure.
Just read this 2 weeks ago – made me want to find out more about the whole contest!
It sounds like the the details were pretty sketchy. I tend to have the opposite problem with my research…too much!
Just the idea of a monumental construction project starting with a kite contest!
Always cool to review great books from people we know and respect. She did unearth a super story here, giving it life with her words.
I will always love Alexis because at my very first regional event she asked, “What are you writing?” And she was truly interested in the answer!
I have read about this book several times, but still haven’t seen a copy myself. I need to make this happen!
Wendy, you really should. Our library had it.
I just looked at the Look feature on Amazon. Beautiful book and of the back matter I can see, it is comprehensive! Great find!
If you can get your hands on it, I’d recommend it.
This is an intriguing story. I’ll be checking it out for sure. Thanks!
I love, love, love this. I can’t wait to find it at the library. Thanks!
My other favorite by Alexis is THE RECESS QUEEN (fiction). If you can find that one too, grab it!
This sounds like a great book! I love that it is true! 😀
She’s done amazing things with an amazing true story. That’s for sure.
My library doesn’t have this one yet, but I added it to my want to read list. It sounds like a great story!