Yay! I’m just thrilled to post a first review of Dream of Night which appears in this week’s Kirkus:
DREAM OF NIGHT
Once Dream of Night was a champion racehorse, but by the time Jess DiLima gets him he’s nearly dead from starvation and pneumonia, and his thin hide is covered in scars. Twelve-year-old Shiloh is scarred, too, both from physical abuse and from the emotional withering of years in foster care. Jess doesn’t feel up to the challenge of either one of them, but she knows that she may represent their last chance. Henson’s story unfolds in a tight, third-person, present-tense narration that shifts its focus among the three principals: Jess, Shiloh and Night. Her novel, like her characters, shimmers with anger and hope. She doesn’t pull her punches—the scenes and flashbacks of abuse are realistically graphic—but she also never lets the details overwhelm the narrative, always offering the possibility of redemption. The author understands, too, that victory is not necessarily a blue ribbon won or a family reunited—sometimes it’s just the quiet triumph of a girl confidently brushing a horse in a stall. Another impressive book by the author of Here’s How I See It—Here’s How It Is (2009). (Fiction. 8-14)
I’m so excited about my new book that’s about to pub on May 4. It’s called Dream of Night, and it’s a middle grade novel told from 3 different points of view: an abused ex-racehorse, an abused foster child, and the foster mother who takes them both in. I was inspired to write this book after moving back to Kentucky and realizing how many ex-racehorses there are (thousands every year) and how many end up in abusive situations. I did a lot of research about people and organizations that work to rescue horses. I am especially grateful to the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at the Kentucky Horse Park. Will write more about this wonderful organization and what they do in my next post.
Please keep checking my blog for more information about the book and upcoming events in May 2010. I haven’t been the best blogger, but my 2010 New Year’s resolution: to keep up with my blog, to update it regularly, and to respond to posts. The last year was just so busy (twins turned 5!), I was kind of in a fog about blogging. But this is a new year, and away we go!
Here’s a picture of the gorgeous cover for Dream of Night:
I almost forgot to post this! It’s a video of me, talking about my books and my writing career, and it’s up on the Simon & Schuster Web site as part of their Authors Point of View series. Hope you like it!
It’s been a very busy season for me, with two books being published within a couple months of each other. Here’s How I See It–Here’s How It Is being published at the end of April, and Grumpy Grandpa, my latest picture book, comes out in July.
The beautiful and fun illustrations are by Ross McDonald, whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Time magazines, and whose children’s books include Bad Baby, Another Perfect Day, and The Noisy Alphabet. It’s a privilege to work with Ross. You can read all about him at his Web site, www.Ross-MacDonald.com.
My latest young adult novel, Here’s How I See It—Here’s How It Is, publishes this month (April 28), and I just got this very nice review from Publishers Weekly.
Here’s How I See It—Here’s How It Is Heather Henson. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4169-4901-5
Throughout the school year, budding actress June “Junebug” Cantrell feels like a fish out of water. Summers, however, are different. Working as a stagehand at the Blue Moon Playhouse, a theater run by her actor/director father, Junebug usually basks in the company of grownups “who think I’m this funny, precocious, mature-for-my-age kid.” Unfortunately, the Blue Moon becomes less a refuge than a source of trauma the summer Junebug turns 13. Her father goes “totally gaga” over a pretty, young actress; her mother moves out; and Junebug is upstaged by intern Trace, whose odd behavior and soft stutter get on her nerves. Alternating Junebug’s fantasies (“Here’s how I see it: As a famous Broadway actress, there are so many demands on my time”) with her more mundane reality (“Here’s how it is: Office Duty”), Henson (Making the Run) creates a funny, bittersweet story filled with colorful personalities and plenty of backstage detail and drama. Readers will empathize with Junebug as she yearns for a place at center stage and for a happy ending for her broken family. Ages 10–14. (Apr.)
I was honored to receive a prestigious Christopher Award (read all about them here) for That Book Woman. I traveled to New York City last week for the ceremony. It was exciting to meet all the other honorees, and to mingle with the recipients of the Special Christopher Award, the creators of Sesame Street.