Storyteller

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( 513 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780375838880: Storyteller

A story of the American Revolution from two-time Newbery Honor–winning author Patricia Reilly Giff.
 
While staying with her aunt, Elizabeth finds something remarkable: a drawing. It hangs on the wall, a portrait of her ancestor, Eliza, known as Zee. She looks like Elizabeth.
The girls’ lives intertwine as Elizabeth’s present-day story alternates with Zee’s, which takes place during the American Revolution. Zee is dreamy, and hopeful for the future—until the Revolution tears apart her family and her community in upstate New York. Left on her own, she struggles to survive and to follow her father and brother into battle.
 
Zee’s story has been waiting to be rediscovered by the right person. As Elizabeth learns about Zee, and walks where Zee once walked and battles raged, the past becomes as vivid and real as the present.
 
In this beautifully crafted, affecting novel from beloved author Patricia Reilly Giff, the lives of two girls reflect one another as each finds her own inner strengths.

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About the Author:

Patricia Reilly Giff is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Zigzag Kids series, Kids of the Polk Street School books, the Friends and Amigos books, and the Polka Dot Private Eye books. Several of her novels for older readers have been chosen as ALA-ALSC Notable Books and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. They include The Gift of the Pirate Queen; All the Way Home; Nory Ryan’s Song, a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Honor Book for Fiction; and the Newbery Honor Books Lily’s Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods. Lily’s Crossing was also chosen as a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book. Her most recent books include Number-One Kid, Big Whopper, Water Street, Eleven, and Wild Girl. Patricia Reilly Giff lives in Connecticut.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 5-7–Giff juxtaposes two stories to highlight a little-known piece of Revolutionary War history. Present-day Elizabeth has been sent to stay with her deceased mother's sister while her father travels to Australia. Resistant at first, she gradually becomes comfortable with her Aunt Libby and is fascinated by a drawing of an ancestor, a girl who lived through the War for Independence. Zee narrates her dramatic story: living on a farm in upstate New York, her Patriot family is pitted against Loyalist neighbors. When her father and brother leave for battle, her house is attacked and burned and her mother is killed. Handicapped by hands burned in the fire, she sets off to find her father and brother and is caught up in what has come to be known as the Battle of Oriskany. While Elizabeth knows nothing of Zee's story, she is helped by her reclusive Uncle Harry, a history buff, to piece together events by visiting the site of the battle and of Zee's home. Another discovery is made in an antiques shop where Harry has found other drawings, presumably of Zee, by the same artist who did Libby's drawing. Through this experience, Elizabeth acknowledges her own storytelling ability, an implied connection between the two girls. Zee's story is compelling, and, by embedding many historical details, including the role of the Iroquois in the conflict, into the vehicle of Elizabeth's trip with her uncle, the novel barely escapes didacticism. The fast-paced narrative, toggling back and forth between the 18th and 21st centuries, will keep readers interested.–Marie Orlando, North Shore Public Library, Shoreham, NYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Patricia Reilly Giff
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