Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
The middle-grade debut of star picture-book author and illustrator Danielle Daniel
Adventurous, trail-blazing Wolf lives in a northern mining town and spends her days exploring the mountains and wilderness with her three best friends Penny, Ann and Brandi. The girls’ secret refuge is their tree-house hideaway, Birchwood, Wolf’s favourite place on earth. When her beloved grandmother tells her that she is the great-granddaughter of a tree talker, Wolf knows that she is destined to protect the birch trees and wildlife that surround her.
But Wolf’s mother doesn’t understand this connection at all. Not only is she reluctant to engage with their family’s Indigenous roots, she seems suspiciously on the wrong side of the environmental protection efforts in their hometown. To make matters worse, she’s just started dating an annoying new boyfriend named Roger, whose motives—and construction company—seem equally suspect.
As summer arrives, so do bigger problems. Wolf and her friends discover orange plastic bands wrapped around the trees near their cherished hangout spot, and their once stable friendship seems on the verge of unravelling. Birchwood has given them so much—can they even stay together long enough to save this special place?
With gorgeous yet understated language, Danielle Daniel beautifully captures an urgent and aching time in a young person’s life. To read this astonishing middle-grade debut is to have your heart broken and then tenderly mended.
About the author
Danielle Daniel est une artiste métisse multidisciplinaire. Elle a écrit Parfois je suis un renard pour encourager son jeune fils à découvrir ses racines autochtones. Enseignante pendant de nombreuses années, Danielle travaille maintenant comme professeur d'art à temps partiel au Canada et aux États-Unis. Elle habite dans le nord de l'Ontario.
Danielle Daniel is an author and artist whose first picture book, Parfois je suis un renard, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and was shortlisted for the First Nation Communities Read Award for aboriginal literature. A former elementary school teacher, Danielle is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing through the University of British Columbia. Danielle lives in Sudbury, Ontario.
"Forever Birchwood is a wise, funny book, perfect for the smartest mid-grade reader you know. Four best friend set out to save the environment, one tree at a time. Along the way they encounter mystery, family drama, romantic mix-ups, and a community tragedy that will test their friendship like never before. I loved this book."
Annabel Lyon, author of <em>Encore Edie</em>
“Set in Sudbury, Ontario, Forever Birchwood perfectly captures that timeless pre-teen feeling of wanting to hold on tight to what-is while everything—including yourself—changes at breakneck speed. Young readers will root for Wolf every step of way as she fights for her friendships, her family and her beloved Birchwood forest.”
“In her middle grade debuut, Danielle Daniel does a superb job of capturing that adolescent dichotomy of feeling both powerless and powerful. How not to love a girl named Wolf who sets out to save her hometown forest from developers?”
Sara O'Leary, author of <em>This is Sadie</em>