Governor General's Literary Award winner 2009
CLA Children's Book of the Year Award shortlist, 2009
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People 2009 finalist
Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Awards shortlist, 2010
Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice, 2009«Starred Choice
Pennsylvania School Library Association Top 40 Fiction, 2009
Red Maple Book Award nominee 2010
Rocky Mountain Book Award Shortlist, 2011
Click here to see a video clip on CBC of Caroline Pignat winning the GG Award,
or here to see a photograph of Caroline receiving the award from Governor General Michaëlle Jean.
Kit Byrne's family is a strong one, but their strength and unity are being severely tested, as life becomes more and more desperate in 19th century rural Ireland. Lord Fraser is the wealthy landowner, from which the Byrne’s and many other families rent their lands. When the potato blight hits, the farmers can no longer make their payments much less produce food for themselves, and the cruel system has no mercy as Lord Fraser wields an iron fist, driving families from their homes and burning their cottages.
Kit's dreams are now dashed as her family experiences a series of tragedies, and as she undergoes a daunting event that tears her away from her family. With her father dead, she must fight for survival and help her ailing mother and siblings escape Ireland for good.
This story is a glimpse into the tragic events of the Great Hunger, the famine that devastated Ireland, forcing thousands of impoverished families to seek better livelihoods outside of their homeland.
Click here for a downloadable PDF file of the Teacher's Guide.
Click here to listen to a podcast of Caroline Pignat talking about the book on the radio show “The Gaelic Hour” on CHIN 97.9 fm Ottawa.
Below is a 5:30 min, interview Caroline did with Kurt Stoodley on The A Channel:
"Pignat's writing is strong and detailed, bringing to life historical events in a personal and tangible way. . . For its good writing, its keen perception of human emotions and its incredibly accurate portrayal of An Gorta Mor (the Great Hunger), this is definitely an addition to any 'must read' list of young adult novels.
-- CM Magazine
"A remarkable work of historical fiction."
-- Canadian Children's Book News
"The tension in the story and in the well-developed characters is always rooted in daily detail, and it builds to the final question."
-- Booklist starred review
"Caroline Pignat is a talented storyteller and her writing here creates a memorable story…Quick-paced and compelling, this is a book that will grab your interest, pull at your heartstrings and lead you to look for other books by this fine author."
-- The Brandon Sun
"This well-researched book brings to life the Irish famine of mid-nineteenth century. . . Historical fiction fans will enjoy this book, and teachers and librarians may find its ethical dilemmas highly teachable literature."
Caroline Pignat graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Religious Studies. After working with children and youth for over fifteen years in roles such as teacher, seminar facilitator, mentor and coach, she began her writing career. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children regularly appear in Highlights for Children, Guideposts for Kids, Living Faith for Kids, and Clubhouse Magazine.
Caroline's humour columns for adults are published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, The Vancouver Sun, and The Ottawa Citizen. She currently lives in Kanata, Ontario with her husband, Tony, and their children, Liam and Marion.
Click here to visit Caroline’s web page, where you can order a 40-page "Educator's Guide" for Egghead, among other interesting pages.
5.25 x 7.25, 250 pages, Trade Paper
Ages 13 and up
Juvenile Fiction / Historical Fiction / Europe / Lifestyle