Rose’s novel in verse explores the mystery of the Lost Colony.
Set in 1587, when 117 men, women and children arrived on Roanoke Island to start a new English colony, the story begins from the perspective of 12-year-old Alis, the only girl among them. Although no girls were among these colonists in actuality, as Rose explains in an author’s note, she imagines Alis there as a nursemaid to the younger children in the fort. Always eager to flee her job, to give vent to her grief for her missing uncle (a colonist who arrived on the island earlier), and to explore the “strange and wondrous” land, Alis defies warnings to stay inside the safety of the fort and explores more of the island. When she drops a beloved wooden bird carved by her uncle and it’s found by Kimi, a 13-year-old Roanoke Indian, the poems alternate viewpoints between both girls as they form a secret friendship. Composed in varying formats, the descriptive and finely crafted poems reveal the similarities the two girls share, from loved ones lost to hatred between the English and the Roanoke to a desire for peace. The inclusion of Manteo, the first Native American to be baptized into the Church of England, mirrors the girls’ desire to bridge their two cultures.
Fans of Karen Hesse and the author’s May B. (2012) will delight in this offering. (author’s note) (Historical fiction/verse. 10-13)