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Daughter of Winter Hardcover – October 12, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Addie has a secret: her mother and brother have recently died of the flux. With her father on his way to California to pan for gold, the 13-year-old is determined to survive on her own until he returns. Fearful that the townswomen of Essex, MA, will find out that she is living alone, she concocts a plan to live in the wilderness as her father taught her. But it is the dead of winter, and Addie soon finds that survival is more difficult than she could have imagined. When Nokummus, a local Wampanoag woman who lives nearby, comes to help her, Addie discovers that this woman knows more about her and her past than she could have imagined, changing her life forever. This is a beautifully written story with deep characters and a strong sense of place. While the author sometimes panders to stereotypes-Nokummus is viewed as a wise woman, fearful of what will happen to her relationship with Addie when the girl's father returns-she is mostly spot-on with characters and the setting. However, Addie's relationship with a local boy feels strained and makes the girl seem older than she is. For the most part, though, this quiet, haunting book will appeal to fans of historical fiction.-Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

It is 1849, and 12-year-old Addie is in shock—her father has left the family’s Massachusetts home to look for gold in California, and her mother and brother have just died from the much-feared flux. Typically, children in this predicament find themselves taken into the homes of strangers and often are abused or neglected, so Addie flees to the nearby woods (in spite of the snow) to try and survive on her own. But it’s harder than she thought to use the limited skills her father taught her, and so she is grateful for the help offered by Nokummus, an elderly Wampanoag woman, at least until Nokummus claims to be Addie’s grandmother. Collins’ sense of place, incorporation of cultural and historical details, and the richly evoked winter setting make for a vividly imagined novel. An engaging survival story intertwined with a search for identity, this tale is reminiscent of Jean Craighead George’s Julie of the Wolves (1972) yet clearly stands on its own as a lyrical piece of historical fiction. Grades 4-7. --Melissa Moore

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1080L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763645001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763645007
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

From my earliest years I thought of myself as a poet and painter. As a child in Hollywood, I also acted on the radio.

At twenty, I graduated from the University of Southern California, married,and soon moved to New England. It wasn't until the youngest of our five children entered school that I began writing picture books, and in the past ten years I've gravitated to writing young adult novels as well. My books include the Reading Rainbow selection, "I Am An Artist", and the recent sequel, "I Am a Dancer". My newest historical novel is "Daughter of Winter". Set in Essex, MA in 1849, it was a must read Finalist for the 2011 Mass Book Award and an ALA Amelia Bloomer pick. "Hidden Voices, The Orphan Musicians of Venice", also published by Candlewick Press, was a finalist for the Boston Author's Club 2010 Children's Book Award. It was nominated for a Cybil Award, and was chosen for ALA's 2010 Rainbow List. My young adult novel in free verse, "The Fattening Hut", won the Boston Author's Club 2004 Julia Ward Howe Award and was a Book Sense Pick and ALA Amelia Bloomer choice. My newest picture book, "The Deer Watch", received a starred review from Booklist and was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe. A chapbook of my poems, "The Quiet Woman Wakes Up Shouting", is one in a series of chapbook originals published by Folly Cove Books. I teach in Lesley University's MFA program in creative writing and live and work in Rockport, MA, where I operate Pen & Brush, a working studio and gallery. My web site for both my books and fine art and illustrations is

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on October 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Gold fever had just hit the west coast, with Addie's father amongst the thousands who left their families behind and made the long trip in hopes of quick riches. Unbeknownst to him, his twelve-year old daughter was living by herself after the flux claimed the lives of Addie's mama and baby brother. Worried that the town's busybodies would send her to live with strangers and force her to work as a caregiver and servant, Addie told no one that her mama and brother had passed away.

When suspicions rose and Addie could no longer live this secret life, she fled to an abandoned plot of land by the river's edge and constructed a tiny shelter of wood and snow. There she lived for several weeks, hungry, cold, and alone, until an old Native American woman she knew as Nokummus found her and brought Addie to her island hut. It took Nokummus's healing skills and nurturing for Addie to regain her health, uncover another secret about her family, and stop running away.

This intriguing novel offers a compelling look at the customs and traditions of both white and Native American communities along the east coast during the mid-1800s. Important concepts in economics help to motivate the story line as the gold rush led a father to throw caution to the wind while his daughter, left behind, suffered from extreme deprivation. This work of historical fiction will inform as much as it entertains its readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By V. Dixon on June 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It's 1849, and twelve-year-old Addie lives in the shipbuilding town of Essex, Massachusetts. Her father has left the family to seek gold on the West Coast, and tragically the flux has ended the lives of her mother and baby brother, leaving Addie all alone. Fearful of being taken in as a servant, Addie flees from her house into the snowy woods, where she endures hunger and bitter cold until Nokummus, an elderly Wampanoag woman, coaxes Addie to her dwelling.
Now living under the care of the mercurial old woman, Addie slowly recognizes the truth of her past. Through an intense ancient ceremony and by force of her own wits and will, Addie must come to grips with the facts of her newfound identity - and find the courage to build a future unlike any she could ever have imagined.
Daughter of Winter was a heart rending read at times. The book begins:
Yesterday I washed their bodies
as I've seen the women do

dressed them in their best,
and laid them in a crypt of snow...
If that doesn't catch your attention, for better or worse, you must be the one in the crypt. I was riveted after those first four lines, but I have to admit, Daughter of Winter was a hard read for me because of Addie's agonizing search for her own identity and "real" mother.
You see, I'm an adoptive mother. My daughter is from China and though she's still a little young for these questions, she will someday have them. Just like Addie, my child will want to know who her "real" mother is and I will have to contain my tears at the question. Tears for her loss; tears that she has to ask such a terrible thing because I am her real mother. I am just not the person who gave her life. This book managed to touch me in a deeply personal place, for which I'm grateful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on December 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Pat Lowery Collins' new release tells the story of 12-year old Addie, a resilient young girl in Massachusetts in 1849. When the novel opens, things couldn't be much worse for our heroine--her father took off to make his fortune in the California Gold Rush, leaving Addie with Mama and her little brother Jack. But now Mama and Jack have died of the flux, and Addie is trying to manage on her own with only her cat Matilda and the farm animals for company. When the townspeople ask, she pretends that everything's OK and that she's still taking care of her sick family. The only adult who seems to know what's really going on is a mysterious ancient Wampanoag Indian woman, Nokummus, who appears to be watching over Addie.

Addie's great fear of being discovered and sent away to live with strangers as a servant girl leads her to run away from her cozy home into the dead of the Massachusetts winter. As foolish as this might seem, we learn that Addie has camped with her father in all seasons, and knows what to do to survive in the wilderness. Along with Addie, we feel the biting cold as she struggles to build a fire and feed herself, finding shelter in an abandoned shipyard. And always, she's waiting for Nokummus to come and rescue her. Sure enough, the old Indian woman shows up, taking Addie to her home or wetu on a nearby island, where she cares for her and shares the stories of the Wampanoag people. Addie's always felt a little different from the people in town, but she was never sure exactly why. Soon, under Nokummus' guidance, Addie discovers her real heritage--and truths about her family that she had never imagined.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Obert on February 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Daughter of Winter is a coming of age story told in 1849 Massachusetts. Addie is a 12 year old girl living in Essex when both her mother and brother die of sickness. Addie's father is on the West Coast and does not know what has happened back at home. It is up to Addie to keep her wits and overcome her childhood fears while waiting for her father's return, if he returns at all! But Addie's story is more complicated because of her secret hidden past. Her life's history is not what she thought it was and it has now begun to re-enter her life. Can Addie cope with these events happening all at once or will they prove to be her undoing?
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