The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas feature two children figuring out life after a tragic event in history. Loss truly effects us all.
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The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas: Book Info
The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas by Kimberly Willis Holt
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (BYR)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Middle Grade
Length: 320 pages
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Kimberly Willis Holt’s The Ambassador of Nowhere, Texas is a stunning post-9/11 companion to the National Book Award-winner When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.
Decades after the Vietnam War and Toby’s life-changing summer with Zachary Beaver, Toby’s daughter Rylee is at a crossroads–her best friend Twig has started pushing her away just as Ben, a new kid from New York, settles into their small town of Antler. Rylee befriends Ben and learns that Ben’s father was a first responder on 9/11. The two unlikely friends soon embark on a project to find Zachary Beaver and hopefully reconnect him with Rylee’s father almost thirty years later.
This beautiful middle grade novel is a tribute to friendships–old and new–and explores the challenges of rebuilding what may seem lost or destroyed.
Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the Piper Reed series, including Piper Reed, Navy Brat, Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen, and Piper Reed, Rodeo Star. She has written many award-winning novels, including The Water Seeker and My Louisiana Sky, as well as the picture books Waiting for Gregory and Skinny Brown Dog. A former Navy brat herself, Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over the U.S. and the world—from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. Holt long dreamed of being a writer, but first worked as a radio news director, marketed a water park, and was an interior decorator, among other jobs. A few years after she started writing, her third book, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, won a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She resides in West Texas with her family.
The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas: My Review
The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas covers a lovely story of friendship woven into a traumatic time period. Rylee tries to handle many changes in her life among her fractured friendship with Twig. When the events of September 11 take place, Rylee struggles to understand the meaning of these changes.
When Joe Toscani and his mother move into town, Rylee meets someone who’s also living through the struggle, but in a deeply personal level. Joe experiences loss firsthand, and both he and his mother long to return to what was. While Rylee and Joe’s friendship starts shakily, they reach a common ground through patience.
The Meaning of Friendship
The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas covers friendship throughout multiple generations. This is the companion to Zachary Beaver Comes to Town. Toby (Rylee’s dad) is the central character, and their special friendship is highlighted throughout the tale. Friendships is once again a focal point during TAONT as Rylee figures out how to navigate her status with Twig. Additionally, Joe and Rylee go on their own journey to seek out her father’s lost friend Zachary. I appreciated the multiple storylines among Antler, Texas’s community. Although its community members are side characters, they offer lovely insights from its first book!
TAONT and History
In addition to friendship, TAONT is a middle grade story covering the impact of September 11, 2001. This was a very tragic part of American history. Kimberly Willis Holt nicely addressed the effects of 9/11 through Rylee and Joe’s eyes. Rylee’s shock and Joe’s frustration is raw, their pain reflected throughout the book. Traumatic events such as September 11 must be approached gently with children, and I felt that this book did good work addressing that.
The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas: Final Thoughts
Although The Ambassador is a follow up to Zachary Beaver, the book is easy to follow on its own. It’s such a lovely tale centered around the meaning of friendship. Two children come together during an extremely traumatic time to embark on a journey. In doing so, they rediscover the meaning of true friendship.
Thank you so much to Turn the Page Tours and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for the gifted digital copy!
Up for grabs is ONE (1) physical copy of The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas by Kimberly Willis Holt. This giveaway is open to US residents only. It will run from January 11th to January 18th at 11:59 PM CST. To enter, click the link below!
Also, click below to view the other fabulous contributors!