Skip to main content

The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore

The Water Castle
Megan Frazer Blakemore
illus by Jim Kay
Walker Books for Young Readers
8-12 years old

When my children were 6 and 8, we drove to Rangeley Maine for a vacation listening to Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. It was slow going at first. The language is more old fashioned and my kids weren't sure why the characters used poor English. I tried not to over-talk anything and let them take it where they were. Suddenly as they realized what was happening, they became mesmerized. After the audiobook, we sat and talked about living forever and what that would mean. Their discussions, as all children's do, amazed me. They know so much in such a little time lived. 

A few days ago I read The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore and was struck by the same thinking. My children recognized the theme as well. She does mention Tuck Everlasting early on, so the connection was made for us as well. In this case the fountain of youth was more of an extended better life than a situation where you stayed the same age and health forever. The Appledore-Smith family is dealing with their father's recent stroke and its complications. They move from Cambridge Massachusetts to Crystal Springs Maine in the hopes that he will get better more quickly through the restorative spring water. It is during their time there the three children, Brynn, Ephraim, and Price, find out there has been a generational secret in Crystal Springs.

Entwined in the story is the coming of age of three friends whose families have been at odds for generations. They learn about trust and they learn to rely on the strengths of individuals to make the whole stronger. The book reads as a classic. There are so many facets to think about and connect to our world outside the confines of the book cover. I highly recommend this book particularly for a book group read since the conversations will be interesting and diverse around how each character solves their problems.


  1. I love the way you set the context of the reading experience first - so meaningful. This is a new title to me, Kimberley, so I'll have to look for it!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Find Their Gifts

When I work with gifted kids, I'm amazed by their lack of understanding about what interests them. They know how to surf the net exhaustively for Youtube videos that make them laugh, but not what skills and practices further their interests.

Developing interests and passions is critical to these students. Many people out there tell me that this is not just for gifted kids, that their average developing child needs to know how to do this too. While of course I agree that this is true, I also think that typical academic, fine arts, and sports programs are available in most communities are enough to engage and motivate most kids. Not true of gifted children who become jaded, disinterested, and shut down quickly when a program doesn't meet their needs.
Most people think of gifted students as being prodigies who know exactly where their gifts lie. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I often question if some children who are identified as gifted will ever find thei…

Writing Short, Day 1

I've taken a new position. I'm now an editor and writer at a company called We Are Teachers. I do some article writing for them, but I also write very short pieces designed for emails or giveaways. I didn't think I'd like this kind of work, but I do! It brings me back to the importance of knowing how to write short. I've talked about this before, but here's the book I'm referencing:
And thank you, Roy Peter Clark, for soothing my guilt about writing specifically for the Tweet. In “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times,” this amazing writer praises Twitter’s 140-character limit as a tool for “intelligent cutting.”
So, as a way to get better at my new craft, I'm re-reading his book and actually doing the activities at the end of each chapter. The first: Practice writing plain sentences that contain a grace note, one interesting word that stands out. ___________________________________________
As did Proteus, I move forward into change. I figure, I …

DigiLit Sunday: Relationships

In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf..

On Sunday, I interviewed a woman named Julie Lindsay. She lives in Australia and started a company called Flat Connections. Her message to me was that Web 2.0 tools have changed the face of education. It brought the walls down so that we could all reach each other.

On  Monday, I read a book by Pernille Ripp, a teacher living in Wisconsin. In Reimagining Literacy through Global Connections, Ripp's message to me was to keep it simple when going global, the students just need to know they can connect and share who they are.

On Tuesday, I voxed Julieanne Harmatz. "Let's do this!" I said. "I've got a fourth grade, you've got a fifth. Mine is in Maine, yours is in California. Let's read together and share thoughts." She agreed.

On Wednesday, Julieanne emailed suggestions for three books she had multiple copies of. I book talked them to my students that afternoon.

On Thursday, I worked online with…