I’ve encountered them in at least three novels this summer: kids shipped off to distant relatives for the summer. I mean the word distant in two ways. The relatives live far away and they are relatives essentially unknown to the protagonist. There is usually a time of awkwardness, then a crisis that further distances our protagonist that is followed by a reconciliation and a feeling of connection with the family.
The one I want to talk about today is Sea Change by Frank Viva.
This short novel tells the story of Eliot, whose parents ship him off to a tiny town in Nova Scotia for the summer.
Publisher’s Summary:One summer can change your whole life. As soon as school lets out, Eliot’s parents send him to the very edge of the world: a fishing village in a remote part of Nova Scotia. And what does the small town of Point Aconi have to offer? Maggots, bullies, and grumpy old men. But along the way, Eliot discovers much more – a hidden library, starry nights, and a mysterious girl named Mary Beth. Critically acclaimed author and artist Frank Viva (Along a Long Road) brings us this warm, funny, and innovatively designed coming-of-age story. See Point Aconi through Eliot’s eyes, as he finds that this place he never wanted to visit is becoming a home he doesn’t want to leave.
This is a short novel that would be suitable for kids ready for a more challenging chapter book, but aren’t quite ready for Harry Potter. The book is published by Toon Books, producers of high quality comics for kids, and is part of their Toon Graphics series. Viva’s art is woven into the fabric of the story, making this more like an illustrated novel than a traditional graphic novel.
Although fiction, the story is based on Viva’s own experiences being shipped off to Nova Scotia for the summer, making the story rig true. I am thinking that I could use a chapter or two when we do our narrative writing unit in September.