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Louisiana's Way Home
Cover of Louisiana's Way Home
Louisiana's Way Home
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From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.When Louisiana Elefante's granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn't overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana's life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana's and Granny's heads. But that is a story for another time.) Called "one of DiCamillo's most singular and arresting creations" by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.When Louisiana Elefante's granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn't overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana's life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana's and Granny's heads. But that is a story for another time.) Called "one of DiCamillo's most singular and arresting creations" by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

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About the Author-
  • The theme of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances is a common thread in much of Kate DiCamillo's writing. In her instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, a haughty china rabbit undergoes a profound transformation after finding himself facedown on the ocean floor—lost, and waiting to be found. The Tale of Despereaux—the Newbery Medal–winning novel that later inspired an animated adventure from Universal Pictures—stars a tiny mouse with exceptionally large ears who is driven by love to become an unlikely hero. And The Magician's Elephant, an acclaimed and exquisitely paced fable, dares to ask the question, What if?

    Kate DiCamillo's own journey is something of a dream come true. After moving to Minnesota from Florida in her twenties, homesickness and a bitter winter helped inspire Because of Winn-Dixie—her first published novel, which, remarkably, became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. "After the Newbery committee called me, I spent the whole day walking into walls," she says. "I was stunned. And very, very happy."

    Her second novel, The Tiger Rising, went on to become a National Book Award Finalist. Since then, the master storyteller has written for a wide range of ages. She is the author of six books in the Mercy Watson series of early chapter books, which stars a "porcine wonder" with an obsession for buttered toast. The second book in the series, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, was named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book by the American Library Association in 2007. She is also the co-author of the Bink and Gollie series, which celebrates the tall and short of a marvelous friendship. The first book, Bink & Gollie, was awarded the Theodor Seuss Giesel Award in 2011.
    She also wrote a luminous holiday picture book, Great Joy.

    Her novel Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures won the 2014 Newbery Medal. It was released in fall 2013 to great acclaim, including five starred reviews, and was an instant New York Times bestseller. Flora & Ulysses is a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format—a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black and white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell. It was a 2013 Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner and was chosen by Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Common Sense Media as a Best Book of the Year.

    Kate DiCamillo, who was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2014–2015, says about stories, "When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another." Born in Philadelphia, the author lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2018
    Abandoned twice over, Louisiana Elefante discovers in herself the "magic that puts things back together.""There is a great deal of power in writing things down," Louisiana observes as she begins her chronicle, a powerful tale of finding her way home. In a convincing first-person voice, the 12-year-old relates the facts of her 1977 journey to Richford, Georgia. She takes note of surprising details and adds her own philosophical thoughts. Readers who first encountered Louisiana in Raymie Nightingale (2016) will be heartened to learn more about her, but this is a stand-alone tale of how she lifted the "curse of sundering" she thought was her legacy. This is not only a story of a child deciding who she wants to be, but also of the power of generosity, especially in the family of Burke Allen, the boy who becomes her friend after she has left Raymie and Beverly behind in Florida. Louisiana's life with her grandmother has not been easy, but she has some amazing talents: a voice like an angel and skill at convincing others to meet her needs. Much about her experiences could be devastatingly sad--sometimes this vulnerable white child makes other characters cry--but there's also humor, especially in Louisiana's biting observations about some of the adults around her. The book adheres to the white default.For readers who relish thoughtfully constructed plots, well-developed characters, and carefully crafted language, this will be a special treat. (Historical fiction. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 13, 2018
    Fans of Newbery Medalist DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale will delight in finding out what becomes of Raymie’s orphaned friend Louisiana Elefante in this “story of woe and confusion” that is also a “story of joy and kindness and free peanuts.” In Florida, 12-year-old narrator Louisiana is whisked out of bed at 3 a.m. by her grandmother—her caretaker—who declares that “the day of reckoning has arrived” and they must leave straightaway. The trip is aborted in Richford, Ga., when suffering Granny has to have all her teeth removed. Stuck in a motel while her grandmother recuperates, homesick Louisiana seethes with resentment but is distracted by young Burke Allen, who has a pet crow and knows how to get free food from the vending machine. Then Granny abandons Louisiana, leaving her with nothing but a letter revealing that everything Louisiana knows about her past is a lie. Populated with unforgettable characters, including kindhearted adults who recognize Louisiana’s dire situation and offer options, this bittersweet novel shows a deep understanding of children’s emotions and celebrates their resiliency. Readers will feel as much empathy for Louisiana as they did for her friend Raymie. Ages 10–up.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2018

    Gr 3-6-DiCamillo returns to a character she introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale. In a first-person account, spirited 10-year-old Louisiana Elefante tells the story of being abruptly awoken by her grandmother in the middle of the night. Together, they trek to Georgia where emergency dental surgery and a nearly empty wallet cause them to stop in their tracks. Stuck in the rural town of Richford, Louisiana must find a way home to her friends. An old family curse that prevents any Elefante from forging long-lasting relationships looms over her. Through a series of chance encounters with the eclectic residents of the small town, Louisiana discovers the power of her own voice and her ability to set her own course. DiCamillo is able to address complex topics in an accessible and ultimately hopeful way. There is never sadness without comfort, fear without consolation. Louisiana's soul-searching is no exception and further solidifies DiCamillo's reputation as a skilled storyteller who trusts her readers to wrestle with hard things. VERDICT A thoughtful and finely written story that earns its place among DiCamillo's other beloved novels.-Katherine Hickey, Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma City

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Kate DiCamillo
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