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Elsie Mae Has Something to Say
Cover of Elsie Mae Has Something to Say
Elsie Mae Has Something to Say
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Elsie Mae Has Something to Say is the perfect book for middle school girls and summer reading book for kids.

From the award-winning author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, comes a sweet and uplifting coming of age tale about friendship, sensitivity, and the importance of protecting our planet, making this the perfect growing up book for girls.

Elsie Mae is pretty sure this'll be the best summer ever.

She gets to explore the cool, quiet waters of the Okefenokee Swamp around her grandparents' house with her new dog, Huck, and she's written a letter to President Roosevelt that she's confident will save the swamp from a shipping company and make her a major hometown hero. Then, news reaches Elsie Mae of some hog bandits stealing from swamper families, and she sees another opportunity to make her family proud while waiting to hear back from the White House.

But when her cousin Henry James, who dreams of one day becoming a traveling preacher like his daddy, shows up and just about ruins her investigation with his "Hallelujahs," Elsie Mae will learn the hard way what it really means to be a hero.

Praise for Elsie Mae Has Something to Say:
"Swamp magic."—Kirkus Reviews
"An engrossing story."—Booklist

Also by Nancy J. Cavanaugh:
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet
Always, Abigail
Just Like Me

Elsie Mae Has Something to Say is the perfect book for middle school girls and summer reading book for kids.

From the award-winning author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, comes a sweet and uplifting coming of age tale about friendship, sensitivity, and the importance of protecting our planet, making this the perfect growing up book for girls.

Elsie Mae is pretty sure this'll be the best summer ever.

She gets to explore the cool, quiet waters of the Okefenokee Swamp around her grandparents' house with her new dog, Huck, and she's written a letter to President Roosevelt that she's confident will save the swamp from a shipping company and make her a major hometown hero. Then, news reaches Elsie Mae of some hog bandits stealing from swamper families, and she sees another opportunity to make her family proud while waiting to hear back from the White House.

But when her cousin Henry James, who dreams of one day becoming a traveling preacher like his daddy, shows up and just about ruins her investigation with his "Hallelujahs," Elsie Mae will learn the hard way what it really means to be a hero.

Praise for Elsie Mae Has Something to Say:
"Swamp magic."—Kirkus Reviews
"An engrossing story."—Booklist

Also by Nancy J. Cavanaugh:
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet
Always, Abigail
Just Like Me

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    always available
  • Library copies:
    always available
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.7
  • Lexile:
    950
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 6

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Nancy J. Cavanaugh has a BS in education and an MA in curriculum and instruction with multiple published works. She was a teacher for more than fifteen years and currently works as a Library Media Specialist at an elementary school. Nancy lives in Tarpon Springs, FL with her husband and daughter. Visit www.nancyjcavanaugh.com
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2017
    Eleven-year-old Elsie Mae lives for her summers spent with her grandparents on Honey Island in the Okefenokee Swamp--so when the swamp is threatened by a developer, she decides to do something to save the most beautiful place on Earth. The canal project is only part of the drama in this Depression-era tale. A hog thief, a Bible-thumping cousin, and a dog that cannot seem to stay out of trouble all conspire to make this the most exciting and problem-filled summer ever. But Elsie Mae is so focused on making a name for herself that she neglects to consider how her actions will affect those around her. She seems to create more problems than she solves. Is this the fall her cousin warned would follow her pride? Or are the complications really just blessings in disguise? Gators, huckleberry pie, and sweet tea on the porch are all part of the swamper way of life. Elsie Mae is spunky, headstrong, and kind, but she also has moments of jealousy and recklessness. The mystery surrounding the hog thefts falls flat, but the distinctive setting, the intriguing characters, and the glimpse at a culture that is unfamiliar to most are enough to carry it through. Elsie Mae narrates, and characters' dialogue is rendered in a broad dialect. Absence of racial markers implies that they are white. A historical note explains the actual events surrounding the Georgia swamp's protection. Swamp magic. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    August 1, 2017

    Gr 4-6-How can one person make a difference in the world? Should they watch, listen, and learn, or shout the truth at the top of their lungs? For Elsie Mae, the youngest in her family, doing "something big and important in the world" is going to involve speaking up. Elsie Mae comes from swamp people, and unlike her parents and siblings, she is most at home deep in the Okefenokee, where her grandparents and uncles pursue a traditional swamper life-hunting, fishing and living off the land and the water-a life that is now threatened by the development plans of a shipping company. As Elsie Mae prepares to spend the summer with her grandparents, she sends a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt, begging him to protect the unique environment of her home. Her wish comes true, with the help of her bible-thumping nuisance of a cousin Henry James, her capable uncles, some reporters, some hog thieves, and a nosy bloodhound named Huck. But will saving the swamp mean losing the swampers' way of life? Cavanagh's sweet and engaging historical fiction style perfectly captures the special quality of life in the Okefenokee, from 'gators to biscuits to good neighbors. Elsie Mae is a strong, complicated heroine, surrounded by complex characters. The novel also does a good job highlighting the complications of federal conservation for those who live in and use a wild place. Cavanagh collapses the time line (the book takes place in 1933, the Okefenokee wasn't protected until 1937), and fictionalizes the order of events, which will frustrate some readers, but an author's note appended to the story makes these choices clear. VERDICT Recommended for fans of historical fiction, nature, and determined young heroes. A great read to pair with J.E. Thompson's The Girl From Felony Bay.-Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2017
    Grades 3-6 For the past several years, 11-year-old Elsie has gone to stay with her grandparents on Honey Island in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp. Elsie loves everything about the swamp, so this summer, she writes a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, asking for his help in protecting it. When she arrives at Honey Island, she finds two surprises: a dog, which she names Huck, and her cousin Henry James, an aspiring preacher who's practicing on Elsie Mae. When the children and Huck get embroiled in a local mystery, Elsie Mae learns that a sacrifice is sometimes required in order to save something important. While this historical fiction novel isn't strictly accurateFDR did protect the swamp, though it wasn't over the course of one summer or inspired by a girl's letterthe period details, unusual setting, light dialect, well-developed characters, and the affirming, gradual progression of Elsie Mae and Henry James' friendship makes for an engrossing story. An author's note offers more insight into the real story of FDR's protection of the swamp.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

  • School Library Journal "Cavanagh's sweet and engaging historical fiction style perfectly captures the special quality of life in the Okefenokee, from 'gators to biscuits to good neighbors. Elsie Mae is a strong, complicated heroine, surrounded by complex characters. The novel also does a good job highlighting the complications of federal conservation for those who live in and use a wild place."
  • School Library Connection "Cavanaugh weaves an engaging story with characters you immediately fall in love with. The text offers a poignant window into the customs and lifestyle of the swampers who lived there in the 1930s. Written with humor and sensitivity and reflecting the vernacular of the time, this book would be a great intro to a lesson on the National Wildlife Refuge system, conservation, and preservation.
    "
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "Our spunky protagonist takes the reader on countless high-energy adventures through the marsh and eventually learns that there are more important matters than heroism. Set in 1933, this piece of historical fiction gives a perspective of life on the Okefenokee, and the author's note provides context for the real-life events like President Roosevelt's Executive Order that lead to its National Wildlife Refuge status."
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