cover image Storyteller


Patricia Reilly Giff, Random/Lamb, $15.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-375-83888-0

This novel by two-time Newbery Honor author Giff gracefully bridges two eras and two insightful perspectives. Elizabeth is a contemporary girl who goes to stay with her late mother's sister, Libby, while her father is away. There, she is captivated by a drawing of a young woman who looks remarkably like her: Zee, an ancestor whose patriot father died fighting in the American Revolution and whose mother was killed when their cabin was ambushed. Through thoughtfully crafted narratives that alternate between each heroine—Elizabeth's story is told in the third-person present tense, Zee's interior monologue is written in the past tense—Giff draws parallels between the two. Both are tenacious yet self-deprecating, have lost family, and are uprooted and searching for a sense of belonging. A roughly drawn map on the back of Zee's portrait and the scattered information Libby and a cousin know about their ancestors help Elizabeth assemble the pieces of Zee's life and become the present-day teller of her story. As she brings these characters and history alive, Giff again demonstrates her own gift for storytelling. Ages 8–14. (Sept.)