This powerful debut novel for children by Lauren Wolk deals with the themes of injustice, truth and bullying. Twelve year old Annabelle is living in a rural town in Pennsylvania in 1943, and befriends a homeless WWI veteran, Toby, who walks the nearby hills by day and squats at night in a old uninhabited smokehouse to sleep. Enter Betty Glengarry, a vicious bully, who comes to live with family nearby, shattering Annabelle’s peaceful and quiet life. When Betty disappears, all fingers point to Toby. Wolf Hollow is a coming-of-age story, with haunting prose and issues similar to those in To Kill A Mockingbird, except that the prejudice here is social status, rather than racism. While Annabelle endures a difficult journey as she matures, the ultimate message of the novel is one of hope and empathy. For readers in 4th and 5th grade who can handle difficult issues, and above.
This novel was also chosen as the Newbery Award winner today in a discussion among children’s public librarians of Rockland County.