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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

(MMGM) Patricia Reilly Giff, author of Winter Sky {Review & Interview}

I'm so happy to have Patricia Reilly Giff stop by the March MG Madness today, to chat about her book, Winter Sky! You can check out my review below and be sure to enter to win a copy here

Winter Sky
by Patricia Reilly Giff
Random House Kids

Sirens! A scary sound, especially to Siria, whose brave pop is a firefighter. Siria loves everyone at Pop's city firehouse. She also loves to study the stars. Her mother named her after the brightest start in the winter sky.   
   When Siria hears sirens, she sneaks out to chase the trucks, to bring Pop and the other firefighters luck. She'd be in big trouble if she ever got caught. Good thing her best friend, Douglas, is always by her side.
   As Christmas approaches, Siria suspects that someone in the neighborhood is setting fires. She has to find out who's doing it. When clues point to a surprising suspect, she realizes that solving this mystery will take all kinds of courage.
   Patricia Reilly Giff, the author of many beloved and award-winning books, is at her best in this action-packed story. In Winter Sky, friends, family, and a very special dog help Siria see how brave she really is.

Patricia Reilly Giff’s Winter Sky is a tender, moving story with a heartfelt and inspiring message about love, family, courage, and seeing people for who they really are and not what you assume they are.

Young Siria lives with her firefighter dad, Pop, who she adores. At night, when she hears the sirens of Pop’s truck and sees him and his crew headed toward a fire, she sneaks out, her BFF Douglas by her side, to chase them down, just to make sure all is well. But when mysterious small fires start to pop up, Siria is afraid there’s an arsonist in their neighborhood. Her suspicions and fear lead her to jumping to conclusions and putting herself in harm’s way. Siria must find her courage and follow her heart to solve the mystery of the fires and save a few surprising lives.

Winter Sky is a quiet, yet profoundly touching story that I found genuine and sweet. Giff weaves a story full of love, friendship, and intriguing mystery. The NYC and firehouse settings are fun and exciting, and young readers will love traversing the apartment fire escape ladders, climbing to its roof, exploring its basement, journeying through Siria’s beloved neighborhood, and visiting Pop’s firehouse with Siria. The mystery of the small fires and the person who set them is an addicting and interesting one to solve. Young readers will easily get caught up in collecting clues and investigating with Siria, and be pleasantly shocked to learn who the surprising culprit is   

The setting and mystery are great, but Winter Sky really shines when it comes to its characters! Giff has not only created lovable, real characters, but crafted wonderfully endearing relationships between them. Siria is a plucky, charming girl with a lot of heart, determination, and love to share. Through Siria, Pop, and their friends, Giff speaks volumes about what family really is and really means, and even young readers will be moved by the lovely sentiments.

My Final Thoughts: With its engaging story, endearing characters, and heartwarming message, Winter Sky is a thoroughly enjoyable book that left me thoughtful and uplifted.


What three words best describe Winter Sky?
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give Winter Sky a try?
I wish I could. The best I can do is say that I loved Siria, and writing that mystery. And  anyone who reads it will be my BFF!
Grab a copy of Winter Sky and answer the following:
favorite chapter?
Chapter one, because all things are possible in that chapter.
favorite page? 
The last page, when all is solved.
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser?
She wondered: Had the shed fire and the movie fire been set by the same person? And did
The scrap of green cloth in her pocket belong to him?
What inspired Winter Sky? How did the story come to be?
I remember walking with my mother one winter night. She held my hand and together we looked up at the stars, so many of them. Such a happy memory!  I think that’s what made me want to write about the stars.
There are some memorable characters in Winter Sky, do you have a favorite? What do you love about him/her? Did any of your characters end up surprising even you with the way they turned out?
I knew a boy named Douglas when I was growing up. He was mean and miserable. So when I wrote about Douglas in Winter Sky, I thought he’d be mean, too. He really surprised me, took right over and made me love him..
What do you hope readers walk away with or learn from Winter Sky?
As I write, I think of kids curled up with a book. Please let it be mine. And maybe they’ll look up and see the stars, the constellations,  and admire the night sky.
As a middle-grade author, why do you think middle-grade is so important? What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade?
I ‘ve always loved reading...the heroes and heroines, their problems and how they solved them. I want the same thing for the kids I taught and the kids who are in school now.
What is your all time favorite middle-grade book, middle-grade hero, and middle-grade heroine?
This is hard. There are so many...from Jo March in LITTLE WOMEN,  to  Harriet in HARRIET THE SPY,  to  Hattie in HATTIE BIG SKY,  to  even my own Nory  in NORY RYAN’S  SONG.
Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at reading in bed.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I’d rather sit in the sun and write, than cook or clean, or do anything else I should be doing.

The last great book I read was THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER.
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Winter Sky, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
Graham cracker cupcake with lemon icing. (It’s my favorite cake.) I’d call it All Gone, because that’s what it would be when it came out of the oven.

Thanks so much, Patricia, for stopping by!


Michael G-G said...

What an amazing sounding book! Patricia Reilly Giff is one of my favorite MG authors! Unlike her, I am not awesome at reading in bed--well, unless I could read in bed in the morning. I am so not a night person that when I start reading, before I know it, I have a hardback knocking my nose. Good thing I don't read much an a tablet... (bang, whizz, fizz!)

Jillyn said...

I love a good mystery. I used to get nervous at the sound of sirens too, since my best friend's dad is a firefighter, and my other friend's dad is a cop. I know the feeling!

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

Oo I love the three words she used to describe it. That cupcake sounds delicious! I've never had graham cracker cake.

Orchid said...

Definitely sounds interesting. Very curious to see how the book plays out.