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Novel Secret: BJORN’S GIFT by Sandy Brehl & International #Giveaway
October 6th, 2016 by Liza Wiemer

bjorns-gift-cover-medium

BJORN’S GIFT by Sandy Brehl

 

About BJORN’S GIFT:

BJORN’S GIFT is a sequel to Odin’s Promise, which was awarded the 2014 Midwest Book Award for Children’s Fiction. Set in Norway during World War II, Bjorn’s Gift continues the adventures of Mari, a young Norwegian girl who faces growing hardships and dangers in her small village in a western fjord. German occupation troops and local Nazi supporters move closer to her family’s daily life, and her classmate Leif becomes active in the Norwegian Nazi youth party. Mari struggles to live up to her brother Bjorn’s faith in her, as she becomes more involved in risky resistance activities, trusting only her family and a few close friends. Across Norway, oppressive laws are imposed in the months from Fall 1941 to early 1943, with dire local consequences. Difficult decisions force Mari to admit that many things in life are not easily sorted into good or bad, and she begins to wonder if Hitler will ever be defeated and . . . whether the occupation of Norway will ever end.

 

NOVEL SECRETS:

In the earliest pages of the original novel, ODIN’S PROMISE, eleven-year-old Mari became aware that the German occupation/invasion of Norway resulted in countless secrets. Kathleen Spale’s beautiful cover art for BJORN’S GIFT shows Mari using an attic space to put some of those secrets and worries on paper. Revealing more would require a spoiler alert, so instead I’ll share a story of my own about secrets in attic spaces.

I grew up in a three-story Tudor-style home. The staircase to that top level had a landing. There you could turn right and continue up a few steps to my brother’s bedroom, or turn left, facing a door. Behind that door was a storage space, always filled to bursting with the seasonal detritus of a large family. On one wall was a raised half-door we were told never to open or enter.

house-lights006The reason wasn’t as sinister as that sounds. Behind the door was a small crawlspace with a plywood floor and beams only a few feet overhead, stuffed with pink insulation. I vividly remember being warned NOT to go into that space, that fiberglass was dangerous.

For most of the year the heat and prickly sensations that cramped space produced made rule-following easy. But winter weather, with its covered-up clothing, brought an instinct for hibernation. I’d lean against a wall, tug on the string attached to a low-watt bulb, and settle in to read, in private.

No, in secret.

But secrets can be dangerous.

On a weekend after Thanksgiving Mom and Dad took us kids to shop for winter coats. We each had the luxury of choosing our preferred styles, then learned the hard truth: the coats wouldn’t come home with us. Instead Mom had recorded all the details for us to include in our letters to Santa Claus.

One Saturday afternoon between that shopping trip and Christmas Eve I opened that little half-door to read for an hour or two. My tug on the light string showed that my space filled with bags and boxes.

Come on, now, you know what I did.

I looked inside.

Box after box revealed the exact coats we had selected. I stopped then, immediately certain that I didn’t want to see any more.

Christmas morning we found, as usual, that Santa had provided what Mom and Dad couldn’t afford. For the sake of my younger sister I didn’t say anything about my discovery, to her or to my parents. Instead, I scoured the faces of my older brother and sister, certain that they knew the truth, even while we stood in that store. They feigned surprise and excitement. They had written and mailed their own letters to Santa, including coat details. What other secrets were they keeping from me?

The stakes for me were drastically different from Mari’s, and yet I’m convinced that the confusion and distress I felt were similar to her reactions.

Who can you trust? Why so many secrets? What is the truth?

ABOUT SANDY BREHLauthor-brehl

Sandy Brehl grew up in Ohio and has lived in Wisconsin for many years. As a longtime educator. Since retiring a few years ago she reads, writes and conducts literacy workshops for professionals. She’s been writing picture book text, poetry, professional articles, and longer works for years. She credits joining SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) after retiring as a major factor in developing her debut middle grade novel and this trilogy. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys gardening, art, and travel.

LINKS:

Email: sandy@sandybrehl.com

http://www.sandybrehl.com

Twitter: @SandyBrehl and  @PBWorkshop | Facebook | Goodreads

Also blogs about picture books for all ages at

http://UnpackingPictureBookPower.blogspot.com

and shares a blog about middle grade historical books with three other authors:

http://thestoriedpast.org

 

Giveaway – 1 winner will get a  copy of ODIN’S PROMISE & BJORN’S GIFT (International where Book Depository delivers)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour stops:

September 1– Interview with Todd Burleson at http://groggorg.blogspot.com

Launch book giveaway raffle at  

September 7           Review: Stephanie Lowden at golowd

September 11         Guest post Unleashing Readers at http://www.unleashingreaders.com

September 14         Review by Erik at This Kid Reviews Books, https://thiskidreviewsbooks.com

September 19`       Review, Suzanne Warr, at Tales from the Raven: http://suzannewarr.com

September 20        Olivia and Oscar- review of ODIN’S PROMISE at Kid Book Reviewer: http://www.kidbookreviewer.com

September 27         Olivia and Oscar- review of BJORN’S GIFT at Kid Book Reviewer: http://www.kidbookreviewer.com (reminder- giveaway ends Sept. 30.

September 29         Alex Baugh review at Children’s War https://thechildrenswar.blogspot.com

October 3                 Jenni Enzor MMGM with review and interview http://jennienzor.blogspot.com

October 5                 MomReadIt- review https://momreadit.wordpress.com

October 7                 Trisha Perry  Mindjacked   https://momreadit.wordpress.com

October 11               Guest post Rochelle Melander http://writenowcoach.com/blog/


One Response  
Sandy Brehl writes:
October 6th, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Liza, thanks so much for inviting me to share this never-before-told secret! And for sponsoring a giveaway, too!

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