Beryl YoungBeryl Young Would Someone Please Answer the Parrot!Follow the ElephantCharlieWishing Star Summer

Wishing Star Summer
IBSN 1551-92-4501, pp 136
Note: This book is now out of print and
copies are available through the author.
(see Contact)

You have to have a good reason for writing your first book when you're a grandmother, and I did. My youngest son and his family had hosted Belarus children since 1998 and I was part of those wonderful summers. I wanted to tell this little known Canadian story to honour the brave children who come halfway around the world in search of a healthy future, as well as the generous Canadian families who unselfishly share their lives each year.

Wishing Star Summer is the heart-warming story of two eleven-year-olds from half a world apart who spend a summer together. Jillian is a Canadian girl who has everything except a friend, and Tanya, a Belarus girl exposed to Chernobyl radiation, has nothing, not even the assurance of a healthy future.

Newly moved to Vancouver, Jillian has struck upon an ingenious solution to her friendless existence in Grade Six by convincing her parents to host Tanya for a summer health respite visit.

Here the Canadian and
Belarus girls have become such good friends that
they even dress alike!

When language barriers, poor health and culture shock strain the new relationship, Jillian becomes jealous and unwilling to share her life. She acts unkindly and alienates Tanya in the very place the homesick girl is meant to feel safe.

In a summer full of wishes and challenges, Jillian discovers that to have a friend she must be a friend while Tanya learns to have faith in her future back in Belarus.

This chapter book for 9-12 year olds is complemented with a glossary of Russian words and maps. Study guides are available.

"With sensitivity and humour, Young explores how a sheltered Canadian child grows out of her own concerns when confronted with someone of a different culture."
    Kit Pearson, author of Awake and Dreaming

"Jillian, the loving, impulsive and sometimes outrageous heroine, is a splendidly real and complicated character who has found her match in Tanya. Hurray for these feisty female characters!"
    Shelley Hrdlitschka, author of Sister Wife

"Wishing Star Summer is an excellent piece of children's literature. Highly recommended for ages eight and up."
    Dr. Zina Gimpelevich, University of Waterloo

"The novel has important messages to impart. Anyone who has ever had dealings with adolescent girls will immediately recognize Jillian and Tanya as authentic characters. The book examines the Chernobyl disaster and its lingering aftermath, something most Canadian children probably know very little about. After reading Wishing Star Summer, it is unlikely they will ever forget it."
    Highly recommended: Canadian Materials, Vol. 8, No 17

"Wishing Star Summer is an arresting novel for young people. It opens the reader's eyes to a way of life that most Canadians cannot even imagine and will leave children with an awareness of how different cultures can help each other in significant ways."
    Resource Links, Vol 7, No 1


       Wishing Star Summer was

first on the B.C. Bestsellers list for 26 weeks
named an Our Choice book by the Canadian Children's Book Centre
nominated for the Chocolate Lily 2003 award
nominated for the Diamond Willow 2003-4 award (Saskatchewan)
nominated for the Red Cedar 2003-4 award ( B.C.)