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Books for very young children, children’s picture books & activity books


by Leavitt, Martine

In this latest novel from National Book Award finalist Martine Leavitt, a schizophrenic teen believes that Bill Watterson can save him from his illness if he creates one more Calvin & Hobbes comic strip.

Our narrator Calvin believes he is the Calvin in the “Calvin & Hobbes” comic. He even has a tiger friend named Hobbes… or so he thinks. Until he is committed to a hospital and diagnosed with schizophrenia. Calvin is convinced that the only way to restore his well-being will be to persuade the comic strip creator Bill Watterson to create a new story of Calvin—this time, without Hobbes.

Intent on taking a pilgrimage to find Watterson, Calvin escapes the hospital with the help of his neighbor, a girl his age named Susie. Susie insists on going with him, but is she real or just a figment of his imagination like Hobbes is? Calvin decides take a direct route across a gigantic frozen lake in the middle of winter. Tested by the external elements and his own mental state, will Calvin—along with his companions, imagined and real—make it back to safety?

Award-winning children’s author Martine Leavitt tackles difficult topics with imagination, sensitivity, and compassion. In her depiction of mental illness, Leavitt shows us the world through Calvin’s point of view, as he grapples with the science of his own brain. Part romance, part adventure quest, Calvin’s voyage is his struggle to gain control of his own mind and destiny.

Martine Leavitt is the author of ten novels for young readers. My Book of Life by Angel, which received five starred reviews, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year. Other titles include Keturah and Lord Death, finalist for the National Book Award; Tom Finder, winner of the Mr. Christie’s Book Award; and Heck Superhero, finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Her novels have been published in Japan, Korea, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. Martine teaches creative writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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This is a gentle and unique story about a boy struggling with schizophrenia; while Calvin is indeed having grandiose visions that include a beloved cartoon character, he is funny, charming, and smart.

Review: School Book Library

A fresh, funny voice that never diminishes the seriousness of schizophrenia…. Leavitt delivers an imaginative exploration of mental illness, examining what’s real and what’s true in this magical world.

Review: Booklist (starred)

I hope it comes across in my story that while reality is really a construct that is up for grabs, and what’s real may be something that people with mental illness can’t negotiate all the time, those who struggle with mental illness can know and understand truth—sometimes in a way that’s deeper than those who don’t grapple with this illness may be able to understand.

Quote: Publishers Weekly

Equal parts coming-of-age tale, survival adventure, and love story, this outstanding novel also sensitively deals with an uncommon but very real teen issue, making it far more than the sum of its parts.

Review: Kirkus (starred)

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