Willa of the Wood is a sweet and fun middle grade children s book It tells the story of Willa, a thief for the Faeran clan One night whilst out thieving, she is discovered by the day folk man whose house she has entered This sets off a string of events, leading Willa to discover the sinister nature of her clan s leader and the greed of the logging company which is infringing on her homeland Now she must fight to save her beloved forest, its trees, and animals from both her own people and the day folk The book is beautifully written and very engaging It s not many children s books that can hold my interest throughout, but this one did It also has a great moral of not taking than we need, and treating the natural world with respect I highly recommend this for young readers and adults who enjoy middle grade books. Not having been familiar with this author s other novels, I had zero expectations going into this, other than to have a great time With the cute cover and fun sounding synopsis, I was sure, if nothing else, that was exactly what I was going to get Can I just say that I love all the heart in this book It was so much fun but it was so much than just a good read It has meaning and feeling I loved the unexpected depth of Willa s love for her people and her woods The setting was perfect and so picturesque that it felt like you were transported right into the very heart of Willa s story I loved Willa s adventurous heart and her strong spirit The twists were a nice surprise, in fact the whole story was a delightful surprise and one I m so very glad I took the time to read It truly makes me want to pick up the author s other work and check it out as well ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Absolutely fantastic The perfect mix of adventure, fantasy and excitement Thank you Disney Hyperion for my advance reader copyThis is my first Robert Beatty book to read having heard of Serafina before of course, I m yet to pick it up I had zero expectations reading this book, and I was beyond pleased Willa of the Wood is an adventure filled middle grade debut where nature is alive as it should, where a young brave and ambitious girl brims with the ancient powers of the forest.Light, fast paced, exciting and filled with magic this book had me pull an all nighter which I didn t do for a very, very long time I couldn t stop reading, I was devouring it from the very first page till the last one.It doesn t take much time for the story to kick start its gears, with the first words we jump right into the action and things unravel from this point forward We meet young Willa who s been raised in the mountains and who s a tiny friend of nature.The story is very empowering, strong and has loud and clear messages to all the young lings out there be strong, fight for what you believe in, survive, love and accept yourself and protect the world around you full review Move without a sound Steal without a traceThis was lovely A girl that can intrinsically blend into her forest surroundings to see but not be seen A different kind of Robin Hood story with a female protagonist and a great plot.She is Faeran and a thief the best one of the forest people, the best one of her clan Her leader has put all his trust in her In groups, all the kids are trained to go hunting, raiding and looting for things on the other side Her tribes people blend into their forest surroundings and raid the day folk, who fell trees to build their homes and make fires to keep them warm The same ones that posess worldly treasures, jewelry and coins from distant places At some point, Willa gets caught and she challenges her leader She is ousted from the clan, strikes up a friendship with a day folk man who teaches her to read Along the way, she finds kindness and humanity in a society that shares the same world as hers and is yet so different One day, she stumbles upon a big secret of the Faeran Something that has been hidden from the tribe s people for a long time and that could expose the leader in the worst of ways Something that explains her families tragic demise and shake the foundation of the tribe Caught between her world and that of the day folk, Willa is desperately trying to tie it all together and do right One thing is for sure, the Faeran people deserve the truth This was such a magically wonderful book When you are young, you are one with your environment and nature and the wonder never ceases Willa and her tribe embody and cherish the natural world, the forest and the animals A Native American or native anywhere quality comes to mind This is perfectly portrayed in the characterization and history of Willa s people Parallel to the Faeran tribes, the day folk resemble immigrants or settlers to this part of the world They not only take what they need to survive, but create trade routes and smuggle goods This not only would make a great novel to read for students, it is also just a great story of courage, trust and right from wrong Simply darling I loved it This is the first book of the WILLA series, and I definitely want to read the next one More of my reviews here Our review is up, now, at American Indians in Children s Literature Our expertise is on depictions of Native peoples in children s and young adult literature Jean Mendoza wrote the review.Our decision We do not recommend Willa of the Wood.Here s an excerpt of our review One of the themes here is assimilation vs cultural survival not of human societies but of a fantasy society the author calls the Faeran They look kind of similar to humans, but have quills on their necks and sharp teeth They have long kept their existence separate from humans, though the Cherokee supposedly know about them and tell stories of them around their campfires at night The Faeran have magical connections to nature Or at least, they used to Few of them still do when the story begins.The Faeran are governed by an autocrat who says they must use the Eng lish language, for their own survival But if the Faeran must also hide their existence from humans, why would speaking English only be an advantage This supposedly god like charismatic leader is fascinated by humans technology He sends squads of teen and pre teen Faeran to take things from the humans at night He deals with dissent as power hungry fearful dictators do His mantra is There is no I, only we That s what made me think of Anthem, Ayn Rand s teen friendly allegory on the evils of cooperative societies in general To the Faeran, that means everyone must do what the leader wants Willa soon runs afoul of him and finds herself homeless and on the run.Willa s grandmother Mamaw , her last living relative, is murdered as the plot heats up She has taught Willa her wood witch knowledge of magic, herb lore, etc., setting the child apart from other Faeran as well as from the humans She has also taught Willa the old language, in secret It s part of their bond, so I wondered why Willa doesn t call her grandmother by a Faeran name instead of one that s used by real life English speaking humans.Some of the human characters in Willa are white skinned invaders homesteaders and greedy, forest killing loggers The most sympathetic white character the man Nathaniel becomes Willa s friend The other whites are destroyers of the beloved trees We eventually learn that Nathaniel was married to a Cherokee woman who has been killed He believes their three children were also killed, but as Willa discovers, they were kidnapped by the Faeran.In some ways which might or might not be intentional on Beatty s part , Faeran existence parallels the experience of those Cherokee who managed to remain on their ancestral homelands when the rest of their people were forced westward during Removal Their land and places that were home are damaged by greedy, murderous invaders They re under intense pressure to change in order to survive But the book isn t about Cherokee life in the early 1900s.Not that Cherokees are erased in Willa The word Cherokee appears than 30 times But the Cherokee Nation itself isn t mentioned not its existence or its history, including Removal which in real life enabled people like Nathaniel and the tree killers to do their things in the mountains The Cherokee homelands are merely the setting for Faeran vs human and Faeran vs Faeran conflict.Some mentions of Cherokee Willa recalls that Mamaw told her of a lake that the Cherokee called Atagahi The Faeren are eager to have Cherokee arrowheads as tips for their spears Willa visualizes Cherokee farmers and has seen them walking on the road and trading peacefully with homesteaders She sees a dozen Cherokee families fleeing some disaster, including one boy who definitely wasn t from the same clan as the others and who, the author hints, may not be a typical human Willa thinks his scent is that of a mountain lion She has overheard Cherokees and homesteaders telling stories of a black panther She recognizes that the names on 4 grave markers are probably Cherokee names, and she recalls that most of the Cherokee lived on the other side of a mountain that is important to the Faeran The Cherokee called it Kuwa hi and settlers called it Clingman s Dome.In his author s note, Beatty thanks three Eastern Band Cherokee people by name All three are involved in preservation renewal of the Cherokee language, and one is described as a storyteller Beatty doesn t make clear how their guidance and assistance was useful in writing Willa I think readers would benefit from knowing that.For Mini review DNFTrigger warning Mention of physical and verbal abuse Withdrawal of necessities such as food Kidnapping children Up till the point I read.I was really looking forward to reading this I have heard so many good things about this author Unfortunately it wasn t for me Honestly I just couldn t handle all the dark themes Such as the triggers above I have read this in YA and Adult books but can t seem to take it in middle grade I started to feel sick as I continued to read.Overall this wasn t for me I still recommend as I think others will enjoy it And it s important for children. Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty is a beautifuly written book that can reach a wide range of audiences Avid upper elementary readers would be swept in by the engaging central character of Willa, as well as the magic that punctuates this story Middle school, high school, and even adult readers would find similar positive connects to the narrative, as well.What is , there is a sense of place that grounds this and the rest of this series As someone who has spent time on at least three occasions exploring Asheville, North Carolina, and the Bilt Estate, the book brought back memories of the grounds and the forest and mountains surrounding this area.Willa of the Wood would take a center stage in my classroom or school library, and would be recommended reading for my students I would also extend this invitation to others looking for a quality read that shines as an example of young adult literature. I recieved a copy of Willa of the Wood as part of the review team Willa of the Wood wasn t only one of the best books I have ever read, but but one of the most meaningful Willa is very determined to keep her wood safe She loves the wood with all her heart, because it is one of her best friends Willa ever since she was little she was taught to hate humans They were cutting down the wood, her home Soon Willa learned to love the thing she hated most I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a page turner and suspense. From New York Times Bestselling Author Robert Beatty Comes A Spooky, Thrilling New Series Set In The Magical World Of Serafina Move Without A Sound Steal Without A Trace Willa, A Young Nightspirit Of The Great Smoky Mountains, Is Her Clan S Best Thief She Creeps Into The Homes Of Day Folk In The Cover Of Darkness And Takes What They Won T Miss It S Dangerous Work The Day Folk Kill Whatever They Do Not Understand But When Willa S Curiosity Leaves Her Hurt And Stranded In A Day Folk Man S Home, Everything She Thought She Knew About Her People And Their Greatest Enemy Is Forever Changed It wasn t for me but this book was very sad and atmospheric and could please other readers.
Robert Beatty is the author of the 1 New York Times best selling Serafina series published by Disney Hyperion, a spooky mystery thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Bilt Estate.Serafina and the Black Cloak was a 1 New York Times best seller, has been on the list for than 60 weeks, and won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Pr
- 320 pages
- Willa of the Wood
- Robert Beatty
- 08 November 2017 Robert Beatty