North to Benjamin

Kirkus Best Books 2018 // Junior Library Guild Official Selection // Canadian Children’s Book Centre Highly Recommended

“Set against the stark and rugged beauty of the Yukon, this story is like a walk across thin ice. Each page brings Edgar that much closer to falling through. Only an old dog and an unlikely friend seem to understand him, but even they can’t fully grasp the extent of his desperation. If only he could tell them. If only. With the ghost of Jack London looking over his shoulder, Alan Cumyn’s book is a powerful exploration of how difficult it is to tell the truth, especially when the truth may bring everyone you love crashing down.” – Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath


“Alan Cumyn’s new middle-grade novel is both a thrilling survival story and a sensitive look at what happens when the parent-child relationship is reversed.… Cumyn’s world building is excellent and he brings the beauty of Canada’s frozen north to life. The story is fast-paced, engaging and heart-breaking, and highly recommended for strong middle grade readers.” — Rachel Seigel, Canadian Children’s Booknews


Alan Cumyn on the writing of North to Benjamin


“Veteran Canadian author Cumyn brings a frosty helping of Arctic magical realism to this sympathetic novel of a boy’s increasing distress at his dysfunctional family life, as Edgar develops the ability to communicate with Benjamin and other animals while finding his attempts at human speech come out only as barking. The book treats this development with full seriousness, acknowledging it as an imaginative boy’s response to the situation without undercutting the authenticity of the experience. In fact, it’s heartening that Edgar, who’s made his way through life by trying to pass unnoticed while attention focuses on his mother, finally disrupts that pattern. Ultimately, this is an original and deeply atmospheric outing, haunted by Jack London and chilled by a Yukon spring, that will especially intrigue readers with their own affinity for dogs.” — Deborah Stevenson, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


Alan Cumyn on the writing of North to Benjamin


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