Welcome to The Seventh Raven Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of The Seventh Raven by David Elliott on March 16th, blogs across the web are featuring original content from David, as well as 5 chances to win The Seventh Raven, as well as David’s previous YA verse novels Voices and Bull!
Best-selling author David Elliott examines the timeless themes of balance, transformation, and restoration in this evocative tale about a girl who will stop at nothing to reverse a curse that turned her seven brothers into ravens.
And these are the sons
Of good Jack and good Jane
The eldest is Jack
And the next one is Jack
And the third one’s called Jack
And the fourth’s known as Jack
And the fifth says he’s Jack
And they call the sixth Jack
But the seventh’s not Jack
The seventh is Robyn
And this is his story
When Robyn and his brothers are turned into ravens through the work of an unlucky curse, a sister is their only hope to become human again. Though she’s never met her brothers, April will stop at nothing to restore their humanity. But what about Robyn, who always felt a greater affinity to the air than to the earth-bound lives of his family?
David Elliott’s latest novel in verse explores the unintended consequences of our actions, no matter our intentions, and is filled with powerful messages teased from a Grimms’ fairy tale. Stunning black-and-white illustrations throughout by Rovina Cai.
Some Books I Love
by David Elliott
I could never pick a favorite book, but books I love? I gotta million of’em. Still, compiling this short list was painful when I considered all the books I couldn’t include: The Secret Garden, Middlemarch, The Golden Compass, Return of the Native, The Witches, Bleak House, The Bagthorpe Saga, If Beale Street Could Talk, Matilda, Ransom, The Book of Lost Things, The Diary of Helena Morley . . . . Somebody stop me. Please. But here are ten that still influence my writing and my life.
Jeff Vandermeer writes somewhere in Wonderbook that a book’s first paragraph should teach us how to read it. Nobody exemplifies that useful maxim better than Natalie Babbitt in Tuck Everlasting. Anybody who wants to write can learn all they need to know from reading this shining masterpiece. Then reading it again, gleaning everything they can from its seamless blending of structure, language, and content. And its heart? Bigger than almost any book I know. I think it was Lewis Carroll who said that fairy tales were a “love gift.” I never understood that until I read Tuck.
Willa Cather is buried in New Hampshire, not far from where we live. Last January, Barbara and I and a couple of friends made a pilgrimage to her gravesite. The day was bitter, as fierce as the winter weather on the plains that Cather wrote about, but for me, at least, the temperatures were mitigated by the warmth I feel for Ántonia Shimerda and Jim Burden. I don’t think I could ever be friends with anyone who doesn’t love this book.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Each time I pick up a new book, I hope against hope it will bring me the same unadulterated joy I felt as an adolescent reading Kidnapped for the first time. Sadly, it almost never does. (Am just now noticing that unadulterated hides the word adult. Hmmmm.) Maybe it was because David Balfour, the book’s young protagonist, and I shared a name. Or maybe it was because like David Balfour, I was in danger. Who knows? It’s impossible to control what element in a book will take root in the heart of a young person and we should trust our young people enough to stop trying to. I read Kidnapped once a year. (Also love Treasure Island.)
Never Let Me Go
The limitation is mine I know, but I find that so much of modern fiction is characterized by people I don’t like doing things I don’t care about. That isn’t true of Ishiguro’s work. He seems always to inhabit a rare space that is simultaneously ephemeral and enduring. As far as I‘m concerned, there’s no one that can come close to him. But fair warning: If you read him, have a box of Kleenex at the ready. Maybe two.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Some years ago at a conference, I heard a doyenne of children’s literature say to a crowd of 800 that until Louis Sachar wrote Holes, she thought he was only capable of writing “B Fiction.” Not only was I shocked by her bad manners, but I also think she could not have been more wrong. I, too, admire Holes, but the structure of Sideways Stories, its architecture, is nothing short of brilliant. Maybe it’s because the book is funny – SO funny! –that the know-it-all above dissed it. I wish Americans would stop being so provincial when it comes to humor. Why do we think a book that makes our children laugh is less worthy than one that makes them cry? This drives me crazy. To me, it’s just one more example of the way adults colonize childhood. Don’t get me started.
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song
Kevin Young, Editor
I have learned more about what it means to be black in America — and after some self-reflection what it means to be white — from this book than almost anything I have read. Opening it to almost any page, I am reminded that writing can still astonish. I can almost hear this book breathing. As far as I’m concerned, it’s essential reading. You want to write? Read this book.
Moliere translated by Richard Wilbur
Many years ago, long before I ever thought of becoming a writer, and light years away from the idea that I would write in verse, my wife gave me this book. I can still remember the awe I felt at what Molière and translator, Richard Wilbur, could do with rhymed couplets. I now believe that Bull, Voices, The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, and The Seventh Raven were conceived on that day so many years ago when my prescient wife thought to give me this book. (I also love Richard Wilbur’s poetry. Treat yourself and read “A Measuring Worm” or “Flying”.)
The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963
Christopher Paul Curtis
I cannot say enough about this middle grade novel. It makes me laugh out loud. It also makes me cry. The way the book brings us to one of the most shameful and tragic incidents in recent history is not only brilliant, but loving, its wisdom matched only by its craft. Another book that emerging writers should devour. I wish the Watsons were my neighbors.
It’s hard for me to choose my favorite Dickens novel. David Copperfield? Our Mutual Friend? Hard Times? A Tale of Two Cities? In the end it comes down to Great Expectations with Bleak House a close second. Pip. Joe. Miss Havisham. Estelle. Magwitch. They are as real to me as my aunts and uncles, and I feel about Pip the same way modern kids feel about Harry Potter. Call me old-fashioned, but each time I come to the book’s perfect conclusion with its affirming final paragraph, I’m filled with gratitude for Dickens, for the great gift of reading, for life, really. That’s what a great book can do.
I took her hand in mine, and we went out of that ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.
Scrooge McDuck and the Golden Fleecing
adapted from the myth by Carl Banks
I did not grow up in household filled with books, but my sisters and I did have a huge box of comics that like some treasure from Aladdin’s cave delivered without fail endless hours of unalloyed pleasure. Little Lulu. Hekyll and Jeklyll. Tom and Jerry. Bugs Bunny. These were my childhood friends. But best of all was Scrooge McDuck, an embarrassingly obvious choice for a boy from a poor family. The Golden Fleecing is an insane, hilarious reimagining of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. It was my first introduction to the myths, one of the primary reasons I love them so much today, and one of the reasons, I suspect, I wrote BULL. How many times did I read this comic–sitting at the kitchen, table, in the swing on the front porch, lying on my bed on a rainy Saturday afternoon?
Writing a few words about these books was like attending a reunion of beloved friends. Why not try it yourself? But beware: You might find that the invitation list gets out of hand. Alice in Wonderland, Lolita, The Sheltering Sky, Charlotte’s Web, The Return of the Native, The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, Kindred, Because of Winn Dixie, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Pippi Longstocking, The Makioka Sisters . . .
★ “Rich with evocative language…. Elliott (Voices) makes the propulsive mix of formal and concrete poetry and blank verse sparklingly accessible for teen readers, with repetitions and Cai’s (Elatsoe) inky illustrations weaving multiple narrators into a beautifully unified volume. Fans of lyrical retellings such as Malinda Lo’s Ash will find this bittersweet quest a warm welcome into myth and verse.”
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
★ “Elliott brings emotional depth and poignant verse to the Grimms’ ‘The Seven Ravens.’ This beautifully evocative tale weaves different poetry forms to great effect, achieving short, intense bursts of emotion and deep, wandering musings on identity and fate. Cai’s haunting illustrations add context and visual interest to many of the poems. Although the setting and events may belong in a fairy-tale, the core emotions of this work draw straight from reality.”
—School Library Journal, STARRED review
“Elliott once again is a master at poetic form….Within the elegant construction is a simple story of best intentions that reap terrible consequences and a look at how we believe our wishes for others come from a place of altruism when it is more often selfishness.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A skillful use of verse; moral conundrums and strange plot twists offer even stronger draws.”
Other books by David Eliott
★★★★ FOUR STARRED REVIEWS! ★★★★
Kirkus Best Book / Publishers Weekly Best Book / The Wall Street Journal Best Book
“Stunning . . . . elegant . . . . arresting . . . . supple and harrowing.” —Wall Street Journal
Bestselling author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death. Joan of Arc gets the Hamilton treatment in this evocative novel.
Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood), Voices offers an unforgettable perspective on an extraordinary young woman. Along the way it explores timely issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices. Now in paperback 3/2/21.
★★★★ SIX STARRED REVIEWS! ★★★★
David Elliott turns a classic on its head: this rough and rowdy retelling of the Minotaur myth in verse will have readers reevaluating one of mythology’s most infamous monsters.
THE MYTH OF THE MINOTAUR? THAT’S BULL.
Garnering six starred reviews, this update of the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur has been called “beautifully clever,” “a literary feast fit for the gods,” “powerful and engrossing,” “irresistible, slick, and sharp,” “a genre of its own,” and “rude…crude, and it’s a whole bunch of fun.”
Resurrected from the dark depths of the labyrinth, this fresh, deliciously shocking, and darkly comedic novel-in-verse takes on the Theseus and Minotaur myth and shines a light on one of history’s most infamous monsters.
To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below to win
- One winner will receive copies of David Elliott’s three YA verse novels: The Seventh Raven, Voices, and Bull
- Check out the other tour stops for more chances to win
- US/Canada only
- Ends 11:59pm ET on 5/16
Note: Book Briefs Contest Policy applies. All of the prizes, terms and conditions of the giveaway should be contained in the rafflecopter below. No Purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.
About the Author: David Elliott is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books for young people, including the picture books Finn Throws a Fit! and the New York Times best-selling And Here’s to You!. He is the author of the critically acclaimed verse novels, Bull, which received six starred reviews, and Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, which was shortlisted for The American Library in Paris Book Award and is the recipient of the Claudia Lewis Award for poetry. A native of Ohio, David now lives (and writes) in New Hampshire with his wife and their Dandie Dinmont terrier, Quiggy. Learn more about David by visiting davidelliottbooks.com.