Megan's Year: An Irish Traveler's Story

Gloria Whelan, illus. by Beth Peck. Sleeping Bear, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58536-449-7
In this addition to the Tales of the World series, 10-year-old Megan and her family spend the summers crisscrossing Ireland in their caravan. Megan loves never knowing what her family will discover next and meeting other Travelers along the way, though she sometimes feels that her life is "too mixed up." When the winter comes, her family heads back to Dublin, where they live in a cramped "tigin" cottage. At school, Megan is harassed by other students for her family's nomadic lifestyle, but although her brothers want to stay in the city when they grow up, she dreams of being a Traveler for the rest of her life. Peck's (A Nickel, a Trolley, a Treasure House) loose, smudgy paintings convey the joy and freedom of Megan's family's time on the road, as well as their struggles to maintain dignity while impoverished in a city "where there's nothing to do that doesn't cost money." Whelan (The Listeners) offers a thought-provoking account of a treasured yet challenging way of life, and the difficulties inherent in reconciling two very different personal identities. Ages 6–10. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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