Windblowne incorporates the innocence and fantasies of every kite-flying child who stands on the crest of a hill and wonders where his kite might take him--but packs in worlds of meaning and nuance.
Upper elementary and middle school boys and girls will enjoy this fantasy about Oliver who lives in the world of Windblowne. In a community in which building and flying kites is prized, Oliver is a misfit.
Despite desperate attempts, his kites fail and his peers ridicule him. But Oliver has an uncanny ability to listen to the winds' moans, cries, and whispers that blow through the massive oaks populating his world. In addition, he possesses a keen sense of observation by which he creates internal navigational maps. These abilities remain unappreciated until the end of the book when he realizes the truth of his Great-uncle Gilbert's words, "Your talents lay elsewhere." Embracing his gifts enables him to accomplish far more than any of his peers.
Messer clearly layers the perennial struggle of good vs. evil into this story. When Oliver is unwittingly taken to another Windblowne world, he meets two characters which are counterparts to people he knows -himself and his great-uncle. If I were using this novel in a classroom, I would probe students to consider the nature of these anti-heroes/alter egos. Resultant discussions could focus on how good and evil are present in all characters--both fictional and real.
This summer, our Talking Story issue was on Multiple Intelligences/Different Learning Styles. As I worked on it I thought about the many different ways in which students learn and use their abilities. I recommend Windblowne as a book that will help students who grapple with embracing their own unique learning style and gifts.
Kites with personalities? You bet. It will be a long time before I forget a crimson kite which nods, trembles, and fights for truth and justice.
I guarantee. You'll never see a kite in the same way again.
I am giving away an autographed copy of Windblowne! Here's the deal:
1. You have to be between 10-16 years of age to win this. (Parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles-- pass this along!)
2. You have to become a new follower of my blog or share this on Facebook or Twitter. (Do more than one, and I'll enter your name twice!)
3. Leave me a comment and I'll enter your name. Drawing is on 9/27/11. Hope you win!