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Spillworthy Paperback – May, 2014
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"There are great messages in this book, the characters are so lovable, it's an entertaining and captivating read, and the twist that happens ... Blew. My. Mind. I really wasn't expecting that." --The Idaho Statesman
"Spillworthy. . . not only deals with homelessness and human trafficking, but gives voice to the young victims who rise above their trials through the powerful magic of words. Idaho-based author Johanna Harness proves that reading, writing and communication truly does heal and can save souls -- and books like hers, along with the rest of this year's Moonbeam winners -- can change the world." -Jim Barnes, Award Director, Moonbeam Children's Book Award
"Ulysses Finch is a homeless ten year old boy and creator of the "Spillworthy" concept, which is the act of writing one's thoughts and releasing them into the world to be shared. In this "middle-grade" novel, Harness not only provides a voice for the usually ignored youth, but she allows the reader to see how beautiful and deeply thought they can be." -The Avrupa Times
About the Author
Johanna Harness loves exploring the natural world and enjoys trees in particular. She was born and raised in Idaho, where she and her husband went to kindergarten together. She now shares her love of books, science, and history with her kids, sheep, cats, chickens, and guinea pigs (but mostly with her kids).
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the strongest themes in Spillworthy is the idea that we all have a voice. No matter what age we are, we all are worthy of being heard, whether it’s through a spillworthy or through being heard literally from friends and family. The book touches on the idea that we are interesting, we are valuable and we are loved, even when we feel we are not. The novel is a great conduit to open up conversations about feeling worthy, an important topic to discuss with young people.
The journal style makes the story move along easily and is enjoyable at a surface-level for younger readers. More mature readers will have an opportunity to explore more complex themes and real-world issues, such as drug addiction and child trafficking.
I appreciate the questions Spillworthy poses, such as: the definition of family, what ‘home’ means, the importance of friendship, and whether or not we should trust our institutions. These are hard topics to discuss with children, but it provides an excellent way to open up conversation with curious minds.
The story is laid out like breadcrumbs. It begins very small. The way it’s written prevents you from zooming out and seeing the bigger picture. It keeps you hanging on. One more page. One more, one more. Right until the very end.
Without copying the style the story and pacing remind me of one of my childhood favourites. (The Famous Five).
Great ending and a lovely underlying message, which I will not spoil here. Not everything is Spillworthy.
Sssh. Don’t look up…
Introducing Ulysses via his journal-writing is brilliant – who doesn’t love reading someone’s journal? The story is woven together in the form of journal entries, between friends who meet each other as they read each other’s journals that they hide from adults in the woods. Some of their words are only for their private journals, but others they write are so good and important that they are spillworthy.
I couldn’t put it down, eager to hear what they would discover next, and anxious to see how the author would weave together the personal journeys of each of the children, and how the intersection would enrich and ultimately save each of them from one evil or another.
This book tenderly tackles some tough subjects, but only in enough detail to prompt discussion especially if you are a parent searching for a way to discuss with your children the very real dangers they might encounter in the world.
Buy the book. Read it with your kids or to them, and use it as a catalyst to give them a voice for their questions, fears, and ideas. You will love it!
Harness crafted a novel which is a delight to read, whether shared between young person and adult or just for the fun of it. Meet the characters, get to know them, and see the world through their eyes for a while. As these loners come together for a greater purpose, you won't be able to put the book down. SPILLWORTHY is worth your time.
The story is told via journal entries which allows the reader to really get to know the characters. You get to join them as they have their adventures but the reader can see the bigger picture, the problems of these characters, how they deal with them and how other people see them.
Some of Ulysses’s actions and reactions contradict his large (for a homeless ten-year-old) vocabulary and more adult philosophies but I liked the character so much I could suspend disbelief and just go with the flow of the story.
It’s a powerful story about having a voice. Even though it’s aimed towards a middle grade reader, adults will enjoy it and it can be a great read for parents and their children to read together and discuss.