Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 17
- Grade: 7 to 10
- Reading age: 12 to 17
The year Louisiana – Easy for short – meets Janis Joplin is the year everything changes. Easy is a car mechanic in her dad’s shop, but she can sing the blues like someone twice her age. So when she hears that Janis Joplin is passing through her small town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Easy is there with her heart - and her voice - in hand. It’s 1970 and Janis Joplin is an electrifying blues-rock singer at the height of her fame – and of her addictions. Yet she recognizes Easy’s talent and asks her to meet her in Texas to sing. So Easy begins an unusual journey that will change everything.
About the author
Caroline Stellings is an author and illustrator of children’s books from Waterdown, Ontario. She is a professional artist who loves to paint the many birds and animals that inhabit the wetland area near her studio. Her previous books include The Malagawatch Mice and the Church that Sailed (CBU Press), Skippers Save the Stone, a children’s book in English and Gaelic, also from CBU Press, and Skippers At Cape Spear (Breakwater Books).
- Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens - Spring 2017
- Short-listed, Hamilton Arts Council Literary Award for Fiction
- Short-listed, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
- Commended, 49th Shelf's Books of the Year for Young Readers
Caroline Stellings composes a story that is both embedded in the [1970s] yet universal in its themes of acceptance, tolerance, and family. By taking Easy on a journey both spatially from Saskatoon to Albuquerque and Texas and back, and emotionally as she struggles with acknowledgement of her own family’s secrets and story, Caroline Stellings creates an alluring, cross-country excursion of the soul and heart which ends with finding enlightenment, sometimes closer to home than you might expect.
CanLit for Little Canadians
Time spent with this strong, savvy female protagonist is time well spent...
This is a great coming-of age story set in the still highly racial year of 1970.
Freedom's Just Another Word is an extraordinary novel with a courageous narrator.... Easy’s journey is not an “easy” one in this novel; however, she makes some very difficult choices with dignity. ... The portrait of Janis Joplin is brutally honest and fascinating, and adds a historical dimension to this beautifully written novel.
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
Caroline Stellings gives us more than just your typical gal-pal road trip... [she] gives us a fantastic piece of historical fiction that takes us from one extreme to another with a strong relatable character.
Canadian Children's Book News
With good dialogue, an attractive main character, unexpected humour, and real history thrown in, this is an important book that teens will find compelling reading.
Winnipeg Free Press
A unique story about a fascinating place and time.
School Library Journal
Easy is a delightful character... a charming novel.
Historical Novels Review
Easy is a believable mix of perceptiveness and naivety, with an engaging and sardonic voice.... Stellings succeeds in providing a vivid glimpse of a little-known slice of Canadian history that will make young readers think more deeply about race and social justice.
Quill & Quire
Stellings handles these heavy topics deftly, with Easy’s confidence and humour.
Other titles by Caroline Stellings
The Great Cookie War
The Secret of the Golden Flower