Friday, March 15, 2013

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Navigating Early is my new favorite book. I had heard rumblings on the web about this gem and read several blog entries describing the heft of the author's words. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I read fast for stuff I like and only rarely do I slow down, in those moments when I don't want a book to end. Here is one book I way slowed down on, savoring every word.

Teen-aged Jack's mother dies and military-dedicated father sends Jack to a military school thousands of miles from home. Experiencing the dreadful grip of uprootedness, Jack finds a surprising, unique, and steadfast friend in Early Auden. The two boys set off on a lifetime adventure, searching for a gigantic bear, rattlesnakes, and an important relative long believed by most to be dead. What they discover changes a number of lives and certainly not only their own. 

Author Clare Vanderpool won the Newbery for her first novel, Moon Over Manifest, a book I now feel compelled to read. She demonstrates such a sweet writing craft in Navigating Early. I treasured her framing of the story, and I frequently found sentences that I plan to use as writing prompts in my own writing. Add onto that the messages she ladles lovingly throughout the text: hope, compassion, empathy, patience. I can imagine this book being considered for the Newbery this year too.

"You're jumping into the navigating part too soon. Maybe you should focus on the beauty of those stars up there apart from their function. Just atke them in, admire them, stand in awe of them, before you expect them to lead the way. Besides, who's to say that one group of stars belongs together and only together? Those stars up there are drawn to each other in lots of different ways. They're connected in unexpected ways, just like people."  (page 36)

I am not the best at always living in the moment all the time but last night offered me another moment to try again at it. Alysa is redoing her room-- yep, she is a teenager and the loft that I would have loved has to go-- so she asked last night if I would go to Ikea with her for a few things. I appreciate when a book rivers into me during my life away from it, and I keep hearing some of the messages from Vanderpool's writing, particularly as I have an opportunity to lean into intentional time with my dear daughter.

I loaned Navigating Early to Ruth and after Ruth, my partner Laurie will likely read it. That means it will be a few weeks before I get it back into my loving, eager hands. I am not in a rush; I know that good things come to those who wait.....twiddle away, thumbs. I have all the time in the world.

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