Getting Near to Baby by Audrey Couloumbis
(2000 Newbery Honor Book)

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Synopsis

A Southern charmer for fans of Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Audrey Couloumbis's masterful debut novel brings to mind Karen Hesse, Katherine Paterson, and Betsy Byars's The Summer of the Swans—it is a story you will never forget.

Willa Jo and Little Sister are up on the roof at Aunt Patty’s house. Willa Jo went up to watch the sunrise, and Little Sister followed, like she always does. But by mid-morning, they are still up on that roof, and soon it’s clear it wasn’t just the sunrise that brought them there.

The trouble is, coming down would mean they’d have to explain, and they just can’t find the words.

This is a funny, sometimes heartbreaking, story about sisters, about grief, and about healing. Two girls must come to terms with the death of their baby sister, their mother’s unshakable depression, and the ridiculously controlling aunt who takes them in and means well but just doesn’t understand children. Willa Jo has to try and make things right in their new home, but she and Aunt Patty keep butting heads. Until the morning the two girls climb up to the roof of her house. Aunt Patty tries everything she can think of to get them down, but in the end, the solution is miraculously simple.

A Newbery Honor Book

An ALA Notable Book

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
 

About Audrey Couloumbis

See more books from this Author
AUDREY COULOUMBIS's first book for children, Getting Near to Baby, won the Newbery Honor in 2000.




























Author Residence: South Fallsburg, NY, and Keystone Heights, FL
 
Published August 27, 2001 by Puffin. 228 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Getting Near to Baby

Kirkus Reviews

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In the wake of Baby’s sudden death, the three Deans remaining put up no resistance when Aunt Patty swoops in to take away 12-year-old Willa Jo and suddenly, stubbornly mute JoAnn, called “Little Sister,” in the misguided belief that their mother needs time alone.

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Publishers Weekly

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In her first novel for children, Couloumbis deftly constructs an intricate montage of thoughts and memories from the perspective of 12-year-old Willa Jo Dean who, with Little Sister, mourns the death

Aug 30 1999 | Read Full Review of Getting Near to Baby (2000 Ne...

Publishers Weekly

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"Couloumbis deftly constructs an intricate montage of thoughts and memories from the perspective of 12-year-old Willa Jo Dean who, with Little Sister, mourns the death of their baby sister," said PW in a starred review.

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The Seattle Times

The Seattle Children's Theatre production of "Getting Near to Baby" is a touching story about a family's loss and a crotchety relative's journey to compassion.

Mar 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Getting Near to Baby (2000 Ne...

Common Sense Media

It echoes Willa Jo's fragmentary process of working through grief over her baby sister's death and its debilitating effects on Mom.

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KidsReads

In GETTING NEAR TO BABY, Willa Jo is nearly thirteen and Little Sister is seven when their baby sister dies suddenly.

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Reader Rating for Getting Near to Baby
75%

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