Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 14
- Grade: 5 to 9
- Reading age: 10 to 14
From Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner Laurel Croza comes a mesmerizing collection of short stories about the whirlpool of adolescence.
Charity takes small steps to escape her controlling father. Jasmine endures the rumors about her at school, even though no one really knows what happened last summer. The Oh! So Perfect Hair Dolly wishes for just the right child to take her home from the store. Nicola has a run-in with a classmate on her first day at a new school in the big city — or is the classmate a wolf in disguise? A squirrel ruminates on the nature of life and death. Dani fights for her dream, in spite of her father’s insistence that her older brother should be the one to play hockey. Mike finds the kind of family he has longed for in his coworkers at the restaurant where he works.
In these seven stories by Laurel Croza (author of the award-winning picture books I Know Here and From There to Here), five teenagers, a doll and a squirrel break out of the expectations placed upon them. Featuring beautiful black-and-white illustrations by Kelsey Garrity-Riley.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
About the authors
Laurel Croza lived near four dam sites when she was a child, moving nine times and attending six schools before she was fourteen. I Know Here, her first picture book, illustrated by Matt James, is based on her memories of leaving Saskatchewan for Toronto. It won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Ezra Jack Keats and New York Public Library New Writer Award, and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, among many other accolades. Laurel’s second book, From There to Here, picks up where the first left off. She lives with her family in Toronto.
Kelsey Garrity-Riley grew up in Germany and Belgium before moving to the US to pursue her love of art. She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010. She has also illustrated Other-Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak. Kelsey lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Excerpt: The Whirlpool: Stories (by (author) Laurel Croza; illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley)
There’s no need for Snapchat or text messages in a high school cafeteria at lunchtime. All you have to do is sit at one of the tables. Guaranteed, after a minute or two, you’ll know everything there is to know. It’s all here. Carried just above our heads. Words surging and swelling and rolling across the cafeteria like bodysurfers at a concert. Talk washing over us, flooding us with the ohmygods, the names, the details. Everyone, even the quiet ones, caught up in the rumors. The gossip. The whirlpool.
Sometimes the whirlpool slows. A sudden waiting, watching, listening silence. A signal that fresh drama is about to unfold. Not on the stage at the back of the room, the curtain drawn shut. This theater plays out right in front of us, down on the floor, in the depths of the cafeteria.
I’m not surprised when the current pauses in front of me. It’s the end of September but it’s still my name that swirls around and around and around. My name trapped in the whirlpool since school started, the day after Labor Day.
. . . the stories are beautifully written and described. This short story collection would be a great tool within the classroom . . .
There's a persistent yet subtle sense in every story of the strive to rise above the ordinary and gain a higher view. . . . A thoughtful read for a contemplative teen . . .
School Library Journal
[P]acked with emotional growth . . . . With The Whirlpool, Laurel Croza has provided a worthwhile addition to the youngCanLit collection of short story anthologies as it enlightens, reassures and inspires.
CanLit for Little Canadians
[A] highly recommended collection of seven short stories about a series of fascinating and unique characters.