Monday, August 06, 2007

WCOB-August: The Secret Language

I wasn't going to do this--recommend an out-of-print book for Wicked Cool Overlooked Books this month--but I just can't help myself. Ursula Nordstrom's The Secret Language IS a wicked cool overlooked book that should be back in print.

The Secret Language was my favorite book as a child, and just recently my mom brought me my tattered copy. And, here's the weird thing. I had forgotten about it completely until I saw the beautiful cover again. (I much prefer this pastel cover to the brighter cover from a later edition posted at Amazon.)

What do I love so much about The Secret Language? Honestly, I love that not much happens except for two girls become friends at boarding school. The protagonist, Victoria, is sent away to school at age 8 and she's extremely homesick and awed by a bossy girl named Martha, who uses secret words as an exclusionary tactic. The language itself is really just code for learning how to adapt and change to a new environment--and once Victoria is able to use the language, she's found a place in her new world and a friend.

Children's books now are to grab us from the first page and sweep us away into a world of action and intrigue. While I love a great action-filled romp as much as the next person, recently I've missed the quiet books for Middle Grade readers--the books where nothing much happens at all.