Featured Book of The Week
Faith, Hope and Ivy June by Phyllis Naylor

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Ivy June Mosely and Catherine Combs, two girls from different parts of Kentucky, are participating in the first seventh-grade student exchange program between their schools. The girls will stay at each other’s homes, attend school together, and record their experience in their journals. Catherine and her family have a beautiful home with plenty of space. Since Ivy June’s house is crowded, she lives with her grandparents. Her Pappaw works in the coal mines supporting four generations of kinfolk. Ivy June can’t wait until he leaves that mine forever and retires. As the girls get closer, they discover they’re more alike than different, especially when they face the terror of not knowing what’s happening to those they love most. (publisher's summary from Goodreads)

Guest Post from Phyllis Naylor

I'd been thinking a long time about two girls from different cultures, trading places--inspired, I suppose, by Mark Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper," which Dad read to me as a child.  But more than that, I wanted to explore stereotypes as well as our defenses--the things we should examine in our own backgrounds as well as the things we should cherish. 
But somehow the plot just wasn't coming together for me, until Michelle Poploff, of Delacorte, wrote to ask if I would consider doing a book about a coal mining family.  My first thought was to decline, as I had written about a coal miner many years ago in my novel, "Wrestle the Mountain."  But the more I thought about it, the clearer the plot became.  I still had a huge amount of old research in my files, but it was a fairly recent news story on a mine accident that tipped the scales for me and brought it all into focus. 
I dearly love the characters in this book.  I rarely base characters on people I know, but in many ways Papaw in the story is my dad's father, though Ivy June's grandfather is a coal miner and mine was a country preacher.  And my paternal grandmother, Mammaw, became Ivy June's grandmother (though mine was a midwife).  Both families in my book, the rich and the poor, have their failings, but also much to admire, and as I wrote their stories, I came to understand my own background even better.   --Phyllis Naylor
About the Author 
Naylor was born on January 4, 1933 in Anderson, Indiana. Her father was a traveling salesman so they were always on the move. Many of her novels were set where her grandparents lived in Iowa and Maryland. She spent many summers with her grandparents in these places.

Naylor grew up during the Depression. She never really thought that her family was poor because her family owned a number of good books, which her parents read to her and her siblings. When she was in primary school, Naylor began making up her own stories. She also illustrated them. Her reputation as a good writer followed her, and she was often called upon to give poems and stories for special occasions at school.

When Naylor was sixteen, her Sunday school teacher asked her to submit one of her stories to the church magazine she was publishing. Naylor's story was accepted and this encouraged her to write and submit more.  Naylor admits that these stories were, in her own works, "not very original" and "predictable." (Grummond)

At the age of eighteen, Naylor married. After she graduated from junior college, she moved to Chicago with her husband. Here she worked as a clinical secretary while he attended graduate school. She also worked as an elementary school teacher. She was assistant editor for the NZA Journal. Years later Naylor's husband began showing signs of severe mental illness. He was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.  When it became apparent that her husband was not going to recover, she filed for divorce and married Rex V. Naylor.

Soon after, she returned to college and majored in clinical psychology at America University. By the time she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, she decided she would become a full-time writer. Her first book, The Galloping Goat and Other Stories. Since then she has published a book every year. She has won many awards over the years including: Junior Literacy Guild, the Edgar, the Newberry Award for Shiloh (1991).

Naylor and her husband live in Bethesda, Maryland. They have two grown sons. Despite her busy schedule, the author is active in peace and civil right organization. (Grummond) Biography written by Laura Beil and Sarah Lasham Campbell County High School, Gillette, Wyoming)

1 Delicious Comments:

Anonymous said...

this book is AMAZING!!! it was so heart breaking, but i could not put it down!!! i think i read it in about 1 or 2 days.

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