I am super excited to be a part of the official Blog Tour for Courtney King Walker’s Middle Grade adventure novel, MOLLY PEPPER AND THE NIGHT TRAIN. Not only do I have all of the details for this wonderful book for you here today, but I am excited to be joined by the author herself with a very special guest post. So, sit back, relax, and welcome Courtney to the blog!
About MOLLY PEPPER AND THE NIGHT TRAIN:
Hidden somewhere in the fog of the San Francisco bay lies Blue Rock Island, home to the bay area’s two best-kept secrets: Bell’s Bluff, the old, abandoned prison on one side of the island, and the Night Train, a mysterious train ride on the other. When twelve-year-old Molly Pepper receives a secret invitation promising a night of magic and adventure aboard the Night Train, she is skeptical. In her experience, most promises prove too good to be true. The fact that she lost her mom is proof enough.
Still, Molly gives hope another chance. Together with her loyal friend, Noah Wonderly, they sneak out of the house and follow a string of clues leading to the Night Train. But when the train stops at Bell’s Bluff, Molly discovers the real reason she was invited. There, she starts to wonder if hope and magic not only fix broken promises; but make you believe in them again.
Guest Post from Courtney King Walker:
I asked Courtney which book she believes every single person should read in their lifetime, and this is what she had to say!
The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein – a story about giving all that you have and all that you are for no other reason than just pure, abiding love.
When I read this as a child, there were so many things that drew me to The Giving Tree other than the story, itself– the two shades of green with pops of red and white, the casual ink illustrations, even the initial joy and then sadness I began to feel as I reached the end. I remember hoping each time I flipped through the story that maybe, just maybe the boy would decide he wasn’t too busy for the tree after all. But, no…it always ended the same, despite my hopes for the story to miraculously turn out differently: the boy kept on taking and the tree kept on giving.
I don’t know much about Shel Silverstein other than what I’ve read about him online. He was a cartoonist, a poet, and also wrote other children’s books. The interesting thing about The Giving Tree is that it was rejected at first because one publisher thought it was too sad for children but too childish for adults. Eventually it was published by Harper & Row in 1964. Sales started slowly, but soon gained enough recognition to become one of Silverstein’s best-known titles. However, The Giving Tree generated quite a bit of controversy, as some viewed the relationship between the tree and the child as an abusive one rather than an illustration of pure love (which is how I always interpreted it). I’d like to think that most people saw it the way I did; otherwise I can’t imagine why it would have evolved into such a timeless classic.
Shel Silverstein was Jewish, I believe, which I find somewhat interesting because I’ve always felt like The Giving Tree was a parable for Christ and his sacrifice for the world, much like C.S. Lewis’s Lion in The Narnia books. The boy in the story in no way deserved the gifts bestowed upon him by the tree, yet the tree still gave him everything, even at the very end. Regardless, I’d love to know what inspired Silverstein to write this story; but since he’s passed on, I’ll have to track him down on the other side and ask him!
Maybe at some point in his life, Silverstein was the little boy to someone who was his own Giving Tree. I think we all have a tendency to be more like the boy than the tree, and perhaps that’s the cautionary tale Silverstein intended to tell.
Thank you so much to Courtney for stopping by and telling us about her favorite book!
ABOUT COURTNEY KING WALKER:
Courtney King Walker grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area building rocket ships and rafts out of cardboard, hoping to make it the moon or at least Niagara Falls. But a trip across the border to Tijuana was as exciting as it ever got, so she decided writing about adventure was the next best thing. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and four children, and still dreams of flying to the moon. Her YA debut, ON THE FRINGE, was published in 2011 by Lands Atlantic Publishing.