When the fates of a snow leopard, a child, and an ancient forest collide, the unimaginable can happen. Perfect for fans of Pax and The One and Only Ivan.
* "Harrington packs her memorably atmospheric debut with compelling issues, but her sharply felt portrayals of two vulnerable youngsters of different species bonding as they find their ways in hostile worlds will make the deepest impression." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Both character arcs sparkle with life thanks to Harrington’s poignant, immersive prose…nuanced and empowering.” — Publisher's Weekly, starred review
“Reads like a classic. I loved it!” — Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of the bestsellers Esperanza Rising and the Newbery Honor book Echo
"Wildoak makes us believe the world may well be as mysterious and as lovely and as possible as we had hoped." — Gary D. Schmidt, author of Just Like That and the Newbery Honor book The Wednesday Wars
Maggie Stephens’s stutter makes school especially hard. She will do almost anything to avoid speaking in class or calling attention to herself. So when her unsympathetic father threatens to send her away for so-called “treatment,” she reluctantly agrees to her mother’s intervention plan: a few weeks in the fresh air of Wildoak Forest, visiting a grandfather she hardly knows. It is there, in an extraordinary twist of fate, that she encounters an abandoned snow leopard cub, an exotic gift to a wealthy Londoner that proved too wild to domesticate. But once the cub’s presence is discovered by others, danger follows, and Maggie soon realizes that time is running out, not only for the leopard, but for herself and the forest as well.
Told in alternating voices, Wildoak shimmers with beauty, compassion, and unforgettable storytelling as it explores the delicate interconnectedness of the human, animal, and natural worlds.
Praise for Wildoak
Praise for Wildoak:
* “Harrington packs her memorably atmospheric debut with compelling issues, but her sharply felt portrayals of two vulnerable youngsters of different species bonding as they find their ways in hostile worlds will make the deepest impression. Tugs on ethical sensibilities and heartstrings with equal strength.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Themes of compassion and conservation form the heartbeat of Harrington’s eloquent 1963 England-set debut…Both character arcs sparkle with life thanks to Harrington’s poignant, immersive prose…nuanced and empowering.” — Publisher's Weekly, starred review
“This tender and hopeful story, with a whisper of magical realism, reminds the reader that everyone struggles with something. C.C. Harrington’s prose is beautiful, and she writes with a deep affection for the natural world. Wildoak reads like a classic. I loved it.” — Pam Muñoz Ryan, Newbery Honor winning author of the bestsellers Echo and Esperanza Rising
"Wildoak is one of those novels that makes us believe the world may well be as mysterious and as lovely and as possible as we had hoped. Maybe we can speak to animals in ways we never anticipated, and maybe we can sense consciousness in places we had never imagined, and maybe deep hurts can be overcome--the hurts of war, of humiliation, of pride. The rambunctious and sometimes frightening and sometimes incredibly funny story of Maggie and Rumpus is a story of how we might connect more deeply and more humanly—and so it is a story of immense hope. Read it, and be enlarged!" — Gary Schmidt, Newbery Honor winning author of The Wednesday Wars and Just Like That
“This well-told story of a girl’s stuttering journey leaps and purrs on the back of a beautiful snow leopard.” — Vince Vawter, author of the Newbery Honor book, Paperboy
“This immersive read crackles with gorgeous descriptions and heart-racing action. Maggie is a fierce and kindhearted protector of the natural world. Her own severe stutter is thoughtfully and realistically portrayed as one part of the story’s larger exploration of what it means to find the courage to speak for those who cannot by first discovering your own self-worth. Readers will cheer as Maggie and Rumpus team up to patiently guide them into a world of bravery and belonging they will never forget!” — Nancy Tandon MA, CCC-SLP and author of The Way I Say It
“In Maggie, C.C. Harrington has created a nuanced and complex protagonist. It is rare to encounter a character whose stutter is not portrayed as an obstacle to be overcome, but is instead an important part of her that is embraced and celebrated. Maggie is a relatable heroine who we can empathize with and be inspired by as we follow her trajectory from a place of pain and heartache to one of self-realization and fierce independence. Through it all, she stutters. Her stutter is part of who she is, but it does not define or limit her. We need more characters like Maggie.” — Taro Alexander, Founder of SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young
“I enjoyed reading every word of Wildoak and was sad when I finished it! The story was so sweet and heartfelt, especially the relationship between Rumpus and Maggie. I loved it! Wildoak is a great read for all ages!” — Beanie, 6th grade
“This book is amazing. I couldn’t stop reading it. This is the type of story you might be found reading at night under your blanket with a flashlight. I give it ten stars.” — Madeline, 5th grade
"Wildoak is a wonderful book about Maggie, a girl with a stutter, and Rumpus, a wild Snow Leopard. Throughout the book you learn about the challenges these two important characters face. But when Rumpus is dumped in Wildoak Forest, Maggie must help to save Rumpus from some villagers who want to get rid of him once and for all! I loved how this book really captures the personalities of these two unique characters and brings them to life. Overall, this book is wonderful and anyone considering reading this should go for it. I promise you will not forget it!" — Lila, 7th grade
“The moment I started reading this book I knew I would not forget it. I had never thought about how people with a stutter might feel like, like they can’t speak and express themselves but I think that even though Maggie has a stutter she can still express her feelings and communicate strongly. She is a girl focused on making the world a better place and she is in the middle of a wild adventure. If you like adventure and suspense you will not want to stop reading!” — Finn, 5th grade
“In 1960s Cornwall, most people aren't comfortable with Maggie's stutter, not even her father. When Maggie talks to animals, she has no trouble speaking at all – so it's a relief when her parents send her to her grandfather's house in the country, all farmlands and forest. There's another new face in Wildoak, too: Rumpus, a snow leopard cub that was bought as an exotic pet and quickly abandoned in the woods. In this world where one's voice can't always be heard, Maggie and Rumpus tentatively form an unlikely friendship that will change both of their lives. This engaging and heartfelt novel is perfect for fans of Pax and other stories that explore the bonds between animals and people.” — Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA
“When Maggie's parents send her to her grandfather's house in the hopes that fresh air will help her stutter, she never expects to find a snow leopard cub in the forest – or to be the only person who can save him. Set in 1960s England, this dual-narrative middle grade debut is both powerful and charming. A perfect read for fans of Katherine Applegate and Sara Pennypacker.” — Nicole Brinkley, Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY
“This debut middle grade novel captured my entire heart! We follow a young girl with a stutter and a deep love for animals, and a baby snow leopard who finds himself lost in a magical forest. Set in London in the 1960s when stutters were seen as a ‘problem’ that needed to be fixed. Maggie finds the snow leopard and will stop at nothing to make sure he is safe. This book will feel like drinking a warm cup of tea.” — Joseline Diaz, Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA
“Such a wonderful book of animals and the magic of nature. I was brought to tears too many times; remembering what it was like to be struggling in a world that couldn’t listen. I loved this book and can’t wait for another generation of readers to fall in love with reading because of this magical story.” — Revati Kilaparti, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO