"Emotionally resonant first novel a moving fantasy that brilliantly evokes the fear and exhilaration of growing up."--"Publishers Weekly" In the last one-room schoolhouse in the county, a strange graduation ceremony takes place each year. No one in town will say what happens, but it changes the students forever. With a hint of menace, this mesmerizing novel unfolds. The five sixth-graders in Miss Clough's schoolhouse are about to graduate, or "go through the gate,"as the townspeople say. But none of the children knows what this means. They would not dare to question Miss Clough, though. She has been the teacher for more than fifty years. She is so much a part of the town and its people that they say she can see inside your head and guide your thoughts. But why does she make them study animals so intensely? And why does everyone, except the sixth-graders, stay inside on graduation day? But most of all, what happened at the school twenty-five years ago that everyone is afraid will happen again? Becky and the other sixth-graders are about to find out, and to discover parts of themselves that they couldn't have imagined the day before. This extraordinary first novel combines all the energy of suspense with the emotional power of a coming-of-age story. Janet S. Anderson explores the inner lives of five very different children with equal authority, while weaving a spell of magic and danger around them with her exquisite descriptions of a beautiful and threatening animal world. This is an unforgettable debut.
Born and raised in western New York where she attended a two-room schoolhouse, Janet S. Anderson later attended Cornell University and went on to teach high school English. She has also worked in libraries and for the New York State Department of Education. Having lived in Canada, Germany, and Sweden, she has settled in Latham, New York with her husband. She has two grown daughters, Kate and Alix. Janet S. Anderson is also the author of two picture books, The Key Into Winter and Sunflower Sal.