A Girl Called Joy


Joy and her older sister Claude are flabbergasted when her parents announce that the family is returning ‘home’. Home has always been on the move, discovering all the world has about them, from Iceland to Hanoi, Mexico City to Zanzibar. Now, because of Grandad Thomas E. Blake’s evident frailty, the family is moving in with him.

However, not even his cat seems very happy about this! Grandad champs at their noise, their movement and their upheaval. Joy is working overtime to try to find ways to discover any joy in their situation. She misses the big sky, the friends she’s made in so many places, and challenged by her older sister’s sudden teenage moods.

Surely school will be better, won’t it? After all Joy and Claude have never attended a school before. While Claude seems to present the bigger problem, it’s Joy who has the bad experience. It seems she presents a challenge to her teacher, who finds Joy’s enthusiasm, need to share and enquire, and then her resistance to school schedules, threatening. Meanwhile, Joy is all at sea. Therefore, when she discovers an age-old oak tree in the school grounds, that opens its arms to her, she melts into it. Furthermore, it seems there’s another, a boy from her class, who has the same feeling about the tree, and is curious about Joy. Might it be there’s a friendship? Then again, might this friendship form into a partnership that works to defend the tree when they discover it is under threat?

A Girl Called Joy is the first book in a highly anticipated series. Bookwagon loves it and recommends it highly for less experienced chapter book readers, to middle grade readers. What a Joyful reading pleasure!

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A Girl Called Joy

Jenny Valentine

Illustrations by Claire Lefevre

(Simon & Schuster)
A Girl Called Joy has returned to the United Kingdom, the place that is supposed to be ‘home’. Yet home has always been the big wide world to Joy, not the place that she visited once only, when her grandmother died. Now, she and her parents and older sister are living with her grandfather, Thomas E. Blake. It seems as though they are not particularly wanted either by Grandad, or his cat Buster. However Joy is determined to find the joy in their situation!
However, it’s hard! Not only does their grandfather live by routine, but everything about them lacks possibility. Then there are thoughts of what Joy has left, from Zanzibar, to Mexico, California, Hanoi or Mumbai. While Grandad said that the family were ‘gallivanting about the globe’, they were learning and living a big life. Suddenly it’s all changed.
Joy looks forward to school, until she starts. Thereafter, she feels that she cannot fit the rules and regulations and routines anew. She cannot believe that there are times she’s denied going to the loo, or that her interest in questions is dimmed. Where can she find solace? Might it be with the huge oak tree that she’s discovered, one that seems to welcome her with open arms?
What if that oak tree becomes Joy’s next big world? Thereafter, might there be a friend who wants to join her? Furthermore, is it possible that when they learn about the history and then the plans for this oak tree, something grows in Joy?
Like Ways to Make Sunshine or My Happy Life, A Girl Called Joy offers a rich, real and respectful reading experience. Bookwagon is overJoyed to welcome Joy aboard!


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