CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 10 . . . . November 4, 2011
Emmeline was an ordinary 11-year-old girl until she became ill for a long period of time. Afterwards, she could no longer speak. She is unable to use words to express her thoughts. Occasionally, she remembers a word or two, but they may not be the appropriate words. More often, she uses sign language and body language. Her grandmother also becomes her translator during their adventures sailing down the Rideau Canal Waterway on a boat called Permanent Wants.
The Summer of Permanent Wants is a collection of short stories of Emmeline's and her grandmother's adventures in the summer. From the legendary place Zeya Shan to the language of Eden, from a woman from a faraway land who carries darkness with her to a reptile farm, Emmeline and her grandmother are always helping others and making new and exciting discoveries. The narrator in this novel tells these stories for Emmeline, and later in the epilogue, the narrator will tell readers how he came to know Emmeline and hear these stories.
This voyage is also a journey of healing for Emmeline who comes to terms with her speech problems and learns that she can still interact with others, even if she has lost her speech. Readers will find out how strong an 11-year-old girl is through these stories, where her strength comes from, and how she manages without language. Through Emmeline's stories, she shares her love for books, history, and nature with her readers. The narrator in the novel provides a framework weaving Emmeline's stories into a literary work of art: the novel that became The Summer of Permanent Wants. It is a summer filled with adventures and of learning. Readers can follow Emmeline on her journey of growth as she and her grandmother sails down the Rideau Canal.
Alicia Cheng is a Children's Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.