When the Water Closes over My Head by Donna Jo Napoli

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Synopsis

Mikey cannot swim and, as a middle child between a bossy sister and demanding younger siblings, lacks the confidence he needs to learn, until he surprises himself with an act of bravery. By the author of This Magic Circle.
 

About Donna Jo Napoli

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Donna Jo Napoli was born in 1948. She has earned three degrees from Harvard University: a B.A. in Mathematics, an M.A. in Italian Literature, and a Ph.D. in General and Romance Linguistics. She has taught on the university level since 1970, is widely published in scholarly journals and has received numerous grants and fellowships in the area of linguistics. She teaches linguistics and was chair of the linguistics program at Swarthmore College. She is a published poet and coeditor of four poetry volumes. Napoli was introduced to Dutton by Lloyd Alexander. Dutton promptly published her first middle grade novel, Soccer Shock, in 1991 to critical and popular acclaim. In 1993, Napoli's versatility became evident with the publication of The Prince of the Pond which won the New Jersey Reading Association's M. Jerry Weiss Book Award in 1997. Napoli has also won a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Choice of the Years Best books for her novel Zel. Napoli's Stones in Water won the Golden Kite Award in 1997. She has written many young adult novels including The Wager in 2010. Poydar is a former school teacher.
 
Published March 1, 1994 by Dutton Juvenile. 144 pages
Genres: Children's Books.

Unrated Critic Reviews for When the Water Closes over My Head

Kirkus Reviews

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In addition to his phobia, the otherwise plucky Mikey is fascinated with weapons, to his mother's consternation (there's a delightful sequence involving rubber bands he gleans around the house and fashions into a slingshot, only to have a younger sib dismember it to sort the bands by color).

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Publishers Weekly

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Mikey learns to swim (and to think positively and act confidently) in this ""decidedly uplifting story,"" said PW, adding that ""Napoli's snappy dialogue...

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Publishers Weekly

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Punctuating her book with much lighthearted banter and realistic sibling bickering, Napoli ( The Magic Circle ) deftly delivers a worthwhile message to youngsters having trouble overcoming a fear and making a leap--into the water or elsewhere.

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