The Snake-stone (Collins Tracks S)

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9780006740223: The Snake-stone (Collins Tracks S)

Although he is close to his adoptive parents, James has always wondered about his natural mother and why she gave him away. The only clues to her identity are a small stone and a note scribbled on the back of an envelope. With these, James sets off to find his past.

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About the Author:

Born in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, Berlie Doherty is the youngest of three children. She has been a social worker, a journalist, a teacher, and, for the past fifteen years, a writer.

Berlie has twice won the prestigious Carnegie Medal, for ‘Grannie was a Buffer Girl’ in 1987 and for ‘Dear Nobody’ in 1992. She lives in the Derbyshire Peak District.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up?James, at 15, is a championship diver who hopes to compete in future Olympics. In the midst of his most intensive training, however, he becomes obsessed with the idea of finding his birth mother. His parents have always been open with him about his adoption, offering the scant information they have about his birth?the baby clothes he was wearing, a strange stone, and a torn bit of envelope on which a note is scrawled. Examining the envelope closely, James deciphers enough letters of the return address to determine the name of the village, and instead of taking a train to London for a week of coaching, he heads for Derbyshire. Interspersed with James's story is his birth mother's narrative. As he nears his destination, the dramatic circumstances of his birth unfold, giving readers a sense of the desperation felt by a young farm girl who hid her pregnancy from her overbearing father. When the two finally meet, readers know just how little?and how much?they have to offer one another. The two stories intertwine exquisitely as the climax nears, and the ending is truly satisfying without sentimentality. Doherty's characterizations are especially strong and her plot is well crafted to carry readers through James's emotional upheaval. The Snake-Stone is an important book for anyone who has wondered about the emotions surrounding issues of adoption. The impact is similar to Lois Lowry's Find a Stranger, Say Good-bye (Houghton, 1978), which has a female protagonist.?Connie C. Rockman, formerly at Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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