Keeper of the Night

 
Girl's story following mother's suicide.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Illegal cockfighting

Violence

None None

Sex

References to an illegitimate pregnancy and a boy who wants to unzip his pants.

Language

Mild

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drugs and alcohol referred to but not described. Some smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that despite the subject matter, this is not a wrenching book -- poignant, but not devastating. The idea of parent suicide will be disturbing to some children, and discussion with a parent is recommended.

What's the story?

In a series of short chapters, some only a few lines long, Isabel, a native of Guam, tells of the months following her mother's suicide. Holt's prose is fluid, and her treatment of the aftermath of suicide is sensitive and realistic.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In a series of short chapters, Isabel tells of the months following her mother's suicide. It's left to Isabel to take care of her disturbed siblings and to try to understand why her mother didn't want to live. Lest this sound like all gloom and doom, though, Isabel's difficulties weave through a life that, while not exotic, is different enough to be fascinating. Kimberly Willis Holt details the rituals, family relationships, foods, and festivals of small-town Guam, and Isabel befriends an American girl whose life and attitudes are contrasted with Isabel's.

Holt's gentle prose, along with the somewhat dark and affecting subject matter, will not be to every young reader's taste. There's little action, and though the writing is simple, direct, and clear, the short, journal-like chapters make keeping track of the narrative a challenge for inexperienced readers. But children with a taste for stepping into another world will find Isabel a sympathetic character, and the setting unique and vivid.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Isabel and Mary Kelly. How do their cultural backgrounds influence who they are? How are they similar?

Book details

Author:Kimberly Willis Holt
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Henry Holt & Company, Inc.
Publication date:May 1, 2003
Number of pages:308

This review of Keeper of the Night was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byewickham April 9, 2008
age 11+
 

Bland and harmless

Teen, 16 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
Adult Written byPrincess916 April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

A great read!

I just finished this book and i think its a GREAT read!!! I am also a native from Guam (born and raised!) and Kimberly H. just captures the life of it. Not only does she tell true stories/myths from Guam but she shows the everyday life of ppl there--how they talk, eat, act, the places, the tourists.. I was so amazed by this book! i dont know--if you are from Guam, read this book and you'll understand what im talking about!

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