Sunday, March 21, 2021

Book Review: The Barren Grounds by David A Robertson (MG)

 The Barren Grounds is set in early November in Winnipeg and is about two Cree foster children--thirteen-year-old Morgan and twelve-year-old Eli.

The Barren Grounds

David A Robertson


an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers


Morgan has been in a string of seven foster homes since she was about three-years-old. She remembers very little about her life before foster care.

'"All I know is that my mom didn't want me."' (p. 13)

And it has taken an emotional toll on her.

'What's there about me for anybody to like? What do I even like about myself?' (p. 34)

After giving Morgan a gift of moccasins to celebrate her fourth month anniversary of being in his care, her white foster father James tells her:  '"We don't want you to feel disconnected from your culture."'

Morgan:  '"I don't even know my culture."'

Eli:  '"Who you are is still inside you."' (p. 52)

Eli has been living with Morgan, in foster care, for a week. Eli remembers his Cree culture; he still speaks the 'good words'--Swampy Cree. Can Eli lead Morgan back to her culture?

David A Robertson took inspiration from C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in his exploration of the foster system. The result--an unputdownable book.  

Difficult-to-love Morgan never-the-less wiggled her way into my heart from page one. She's a relatable character who grows through the course of the story. 

Courageous Morgan and compassionate Eli's journey has just begun. The Barren Grounds is the first book in the series. 

Author Pam Withers' interview with David A Robertson

Global Read Aloud 

On This Blog This Week

Wednesday, March 24

Podcast:  Author reading

Let the Sunshine in (poem)

Leanne Dyck

One of my favourite poems. Thank you for suggesting that I record it for this blog.

Sunday, March 28

Short story

Five Dollars (short story)

Leanne Dyck

Readers are a diverse population. What unites us is our love of books. 

Things I listened to last week...

I had fun learning about old Norse literature

and learning about old English literature

George does an entertaining job of capturing rural island life The Accidental Curator

Still listening to... Plan to listen to this week...

Writers Festival Radio:  Ottawa International Writers Festival


Penguin Podcast 

Are you following me?

Linked In

Sharing my Author Journey...

Dispatch, Hatch, Patch--2021 Manuscript Progress Report


now affectionately referred to as "the monster"

Start date:  March 2020

Projected completion date:  January 2021

Extended completion date:  April (or maybe May) 2021

Word count goal:  50, 000 words

Current word count:  80, 000 words

Back in March 2020, I looked for a project to help me through Covid humps and bumps. I found the ideal manuscript and set to work making my plans a reality. As 2020 become 2021, I celebrated a complete manuscript. I gave my manuscript to my beta reader. She returned the critiqued manuscript with the words, "Leanne, I don't think this is finished." Ever since I've been working to finish the manuscript. 


Start date:  October 2020

Projected completion date:  October 2021

Word count goal:  40, 000 words

Current word count:  27, 000 words

In October 2020, I had an interesting conversation with a publisher. During that conversation, I mentioned a manuscript I was thinking of writing. The publisher stated that she was interested in reading it and I started working on it.


Start date:  when the other manuscripts are in my beta reader's hands

Projected completion date:  December 2021--or later

Word count goal:  50, 000 words

A manuscript has been resting in a drawer waiting for me to polish it. This is the year--I hope.