Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Junonia - A Gem

I just picked up Kevin Kenkes's Junonia.  It's a wonderful little story about a girl named Alice who vacations in Florida each year.  As she turns ten, she's worried about her birthday... worried it won't be the perfect birthday. 
     As she goes to celebrate with her family, she has to deal with a lot of changes occurring in Sanibel Island (her family's yearly vacation spot)... this year's vacation is different from vacations of the past.  She comes to love the cottage neighbors, but this year one of her favorites is not there.  Alice has to deal with her mother's friend and her boyfriend's daughter... a six-year-old!  There's an awkwardness to turning ten that Henkes captures beautifully in this book... about the changes children go through and how they handle it. 
     He helps Alice move through the changes she's experiencing beautifully.  Henkes writes about Alice's life in such a poignant and stunning way.  During her trip, Alice longs to find a rare junonia shell for her collection, but takes with her so much more... memories and remembrances to last a lifetime.  From the pitter patter of rain to the feelings that Alice experiences, Henkes captures the life of a ten-year-old in such a gentle and thoughtful way.  I loved this book! 
     You can listen to Kevin Henkes talk about the book and why it's so important to him.  Such a purposeful and thoughtfully written book.  I just gave it to my daughter to read and I can't wait for her review!


  1. On a related note, I just discovered Kevin Henkes' Kitten's First Full Moon. What a treat to find it in our new adopted language arts curriculum. The illustrations are beautiful and the word choice is great. I can't wait to introduce this story to my students next year!

  2. Thanks for the review. It's interesting to me that you teach 4th grade-- when I read this, I felt like it was for younger readers, since not much happens, as middle school students would say. ( no zombie attacks, etc.).