A River’s Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn — Review

Thought for the Day:

“You sit down and you do it, and you do it, and you do it, until you have learned to do it.” 

~ Ursula K. Le Guin ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Do you have a word-count problem? Is your book too long or too short? HERE is a great article on that problem from Morgan Hazelwood: Writer in Progress.

Somehow I fell off Nathan Bransford’s mailing list and haven’t seen his posts in a while. The one he has HERE, Close Off Your Protagonist’s Easy Off-Ramps, is terrific.

The ReedsyBlog has an article called Pacing in Writing: 10 Powerful Ways to Keep Readers Hooked. Read it HERE. It’s worth your time.

I am still having computer problems. Certain keys aren’t working right on my laptop, The biggest problem is that it is intermittent, so they can’t always replicate the problem. I am going to have to take it back into to Apple to be fixed. I think they will have to replace the keyboard. Hopefully, it won’t take too long. And then to make my day a little better, I am having more weird problems with WordPress. This week, the program changed the size of my font, and I have to change it back every time I hit the return key. Ugh. It also will no longer allow me to caption photos. (Just FYI, the first picture is the author and the second is the illustrator.) The only good news this week is that there is not a full moon for Halloween this year. Maybe it won’t get too crazy out there. I hope all of you have fun plans for Halloween and that you will stay safe at your house with lots of little ghosts and goblins visiting, interrupting game three of the World Series (ack!).

I don’t talk a lot about picture books here, but there are plenty of great picture books for middle-grade kids. Recently, I won a copy of a wonderful new picture book on another blog. It is A River’s Gift: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn by Patricia Newman and illustrated by Natasha Donovan. I have been working on a non-fiction picture book most recently and am always looking for good mentor texts, and Patty Newman has several great ones. I first met her several years ago when she had one book under her writing belt, a fun book called Jingle the Brass, a railroading book, and I love all things about railroading. At that time, she was a co-RA for our region of SCBWI. Now Patty has a raft of great non-fiction books.

For a very long time, I wondered what all the bruhaha was about hydroelectric plants. Heck, the water is running, so why not take advantage of that and make electricity at the same time? I suspect a lot of people feel that way, but there are a lot of terrible things that happen when dams are built. This terrific book takes readers through time to a time when only Native Americans, the Strong People, lived along the Elwha. They used the gifts the river brought them, but they took no more than they needed and were good stewards of the land and river. But white people moved into the area in 1790, built a town, and took over a lot of the land. In 1890, they decide to harness the power of the river and build a dam and hydroelectric plant. Newman goes on to explain all the different kinds of damage that are done by this act to the land, the wildlife, the plants, and the river itself. Newman masterfully takes readers through the whole, sad process full circle to the hopeful ending, and her great text is supported beautifully with excellent, instructive illustrations by Donovan.

This is a book that should be in every elementary classroom and library. Young readers will be fascinated by the story and hopefully will be inspired to work toward saving other rivers that have been ruined by civilization. This will be a great book to tempt middle-grade reluctant readers. The writing is beautiful and the illustrations are brilliant. Do not miss this terrific book.

Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

19 thoughts on “A River’s Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn — Review”

  1. Thanks for sharing a picture book today. When I was a school librarian we called the E section the Everybody section, not the easy section!

    I attended my regional SCBWI conf last weekend and learned so much from every segment of the children’s writing world. One quote I love to share from YA author Jeff Zentner: “Voice is Choice!” We struggle with author and character VOICE, still we know every word, sentence, punctuation mark, speech, internal dialogue, conflict, beginning sentence and ending is our Choice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d love to read A River’s Gifts and think kids would love it too.

    Sorry to hear about your electronic problems. Our devices can make us tear our hair out! Good luck with both issues!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds really interesting, Rosi. Electricity and water supplies are obviously good things, and hydro power is a renewable source (and I believe more effective and less damaging to the ecosystem than turbines or solar panels), but it comes at a cost (like most things). I’m going to have to look more into this now :). Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re never too old to read picture books. I’m 76 and I read piles of them. This one is worth your time. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s always nice to see a new name here.


  4. I am one of those people who just never thought about hydroelectric plants because they aren’t near me. This book would be a fascinating read. I know how bringing back the wolves at Yellowstone Park changed the habitat, controlled animal over population and changed flow of the river for the better. Healthy ecosystems are so important for our future and I hope many more young people find this an area of interest Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great share today on a topic rarely seen in books. This should garner interest from many young readers.
    The links were enjoyable and informative. I was able to get through them during lags in the trick or treaters. Thanks as always for being a part of MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry you’re still having computer problems. I’ve been having a weird Word problem. I may have to hire someone to help me fix it. This sounds like a fantastic picture book that should be in lots of school and public libraries.

    Liked by 1 person

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