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Barbara Newhall Follett was an American child prodigy. Born in 1914, she published her first novel, The House Without Windows, aged twelve. One year later she published another, The Voyage of the Norman D., based on her own experiences sailing round Nova Scotia without her parents at thirteen years old. Barbara Newhall Follett walked out of her home with $30 in her pocket one evening shortly before Christmas 1939 and was never seen again. The mystery of her disappearance has never been solved. Jackie Morris grew up in the Vale of Evesham, dreaming of becoming an artist and living by the sea. She has now created over forty children's books, including the bestselling and critically acclaimed modern classic The Lost Words, and her books have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Jackie lives in a cottage on the cliffs of Pembrokeshire, which she shares with a small pride of cats and various other gentle creatures.
There are times when someone suggests you make a discovery, a finding that fills your heart and makes it ache. Award-winning Jackie Morris does exactly that here as she introduces the reader, not only to The House Without Windows, but also the author behind the tale. Barbara Newhall Follett was twelve when this, her first novel was published. Described as a child prodigy, Barbara was born in 1914, and had published two books before she was fourteen, just before Christmas in 1939 she walked out of her home and was never seen again. As I read Jackie’s beautiful introduction opening a window into Barbara’s life, a shiver darted down my arms leaving goosebumps in its wake. It isn’t often that an introduction makes me cry, yet this one did. CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal award winner Jackie also illustrates the story, each illustration accompanying the tale with grace and beauty. The story sits and flourishes in nature, there is an innocence and joy in the natural world that encourages you to see with fresh eyes. The childlike glee, the longing to escape, the connection with the wilderness... when sitting alongside the introduction, adds an extra dimension to this touching story. The House Without Windows has claimed a piece of my heart, and I’ve chosen this little treasure as one of my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month.