Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea
by Angela Burkhead
Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea is Angela Burkhead's debut fantasy novel for children ages 9 and up. The author states, "This story is directed toward middle school age and younger, but I believe everyone can enjoy this fantastical story of facing down bullies, discovering new worlds, searching for a past, and fighting for existence."
Rather than spending one more day amongst the humiliating remarks to the amusement of her fellow peers, Emily Fickeltin runs away. Or, rather, walks away.
Emily is misunderstood and disliked but what seems to be every other child her age and on top of it all, she is overweight. Perfectly pleasantly plump, her mother calls her, but Emily feels far from perfect.
Her attempt to escape her pain leads her to discover a hidden place with new hope for friends and acceptance. Stumbling into Phea’s garden, an eccentric woman skilled in the arts of gardening and imagination, Emily finds she is not alone in her troubles.
Phea and her friend rabbit have a past of their own they wish to run from and together the three battle their innermost demons as their world crumbles around them.
Will they ever discover peace and acceptance? These lost and disheartened souls must find who they are before they are all lost forever.
The thought came to her like a knife to the heart. Rather than leaning on the tree out of exhaustion, the tree now held Emily upright from the sagging and disabling weight of sadness.
Other children. Why do they tease me so? She wondered desperately.
Her head hung as low as a head could hang as she thought about what she could possibly done, or what she might be able to do to make them stop. Then, Emily began to cry. She cried about the bus that morning, she cried about the teasing that afternoon, and the she cried … just because.
By Felicia Ray
Please, step into Emily's trunk, sitting in the school library, with a big sign that says "Do Not Touch !". The line between reality and fantasy has never been more thin, or fun. This author knows her characters from the inside out, and treats Emily's encounters with the adults in her life with humor and verve. The switch-off between Emily's dilemma and her fantasy friend's dilemma is real and mind-grabbing, devices that pull the reader through are easy, surprising and ingeniously done. There's another book out there about Phyllda, I'm sure. Or perhaps several. At least I hope there are, for all of Angela Burkhead's readers' sakes.
About the Author
Angela Burkhead is a full time writer and a full time mom. Of the two jobs, she cannot decide which is more difficult and time consuming, but both bring the joys of fulfillment and accomplishment. She and her son currently reside in Richmond, Kentucky, just north of Kentucky’s arts and crafts capital, Berea, Kentucky, where she was born and raised. Her newest book, Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea, an upper middle grade/young adult fantasy novel, was published February 2014.
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