I think by now you all know how much I love and appreciate a good book. And by now, I know how much you love a good recommendation. So, be sure to add this one to your Christmas lists this year. Because the thing about giving books at Christmas is, they’re picked up and enjoyed long after the video games get old, and dolls are outgrown. They’re loved and cherished for years and years to come.
I know I picked up my copy of Little Women last night that my grandparents gave me twenty-three years ago on Christmas Eve. I have read it every year since. And there are several books that have become Christmastime traditions for me. Some classics, some are titles no one else has ever heard about. But both are enjoyed year after year.
Christina Diaz Gonzalez, also the author of THE RED UMBRELLA which I raved about a few years back, has written another book that I am so excited to share with you. Christina is a writer friend of mine, and I will tell you she’s the real deal. She is the kind of person you feel like you’ve known forever and her warm and funny personality shines through in her writing.
Her second book, A THUNDEROUS WHISPER, is a historical fiction middle-grade novel set in Guernica, Spain and is sure to become a favorite for you too.
Ani is just an insignificant whisper of a girl in a loud world. At least that’s what her mother tells her. Her father made her feel important, but he’s off fighting in Spain’s Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading.
Then Ani meets Mathias. His family recently moved to Guernica, and he’s as far from a whisper as a boy could can be. Ani thinks Mathias is like lightning. And his father is part of a spy network. Soon Ani finds herself helping Mathias deliver messages to other members of the underground resistance. For the first time, she’s actually making a difference in the world.
But then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is bombed by Nazi airplanes. In one afternoon, Ani loses everything. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way…
The characters of Ani and Mathias are so well developed that they will remind of you of people from your own past. Your first real friend, the quiet girl who you knew was so much stronger than she realized…
In one of the first scenes, Ani is portrayed sitting underneath her favorite tree, thinking of her father and dreaming up stories, which immediately makes me like her. (I can still remember the tree in my grandparents backyard that I would sneak away to with a book or notebook.) Her backwards disposition and insecurity make it very easy for middle-grade girls to relate to.
Then Mathias comes along. He is the first person to ever care enough to really get to know who Ani, and by doing this he helps even her discover the person she really is. Their friendship becomes a vital part of her survival.
After Guernica is bombed, Ani’s life begins to collapse all around her. She calls on an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed to help not herself and those around her.
I think even we, as adults, can learn from her character.
So be sure to check it out!
Also, check out this great interview over at Page Turners to find out what inspired Christina to write A Thunderous Whisper. Hint: It has something to do with the famous painting I posted here. I always love a good back story, don’t you?