For Ages
8 to 12

Alida's Song is a part of the Alida Series collection.

A remarkable novel about one of the most important, and loving, relationships in Gary Paulsen's life.

The wonderful grandmother seen through the eyes of a young boy in The Cookcamp reaches out to him at 14, offering him a haven from his harsh and painful family life. She arranges a summer job for him on the farm where she is a cook for Gunnar and Olaf, elderly brothers. Farm life offers the camaraderie and routine of hard work, good food, peaceful evenings spent making music together, even learning to dance. Life with Alicia gives the boy strength and faith in himself, drawing him away from the edge and into the center of life.

An Excerpt fromAlida's Song

Saturday came fast, too fast for the boy, but not so fast that he did not have time to think of the problems he faced.

He had never been to a party.

He did not know any of the people who would be there.

He had never been to a dance.

He could not speak to girls.

He could not be with crowds of strangers.

He could not, he finally decided, go.

The boy started in early in the day on Saturday. As they did morning chores he mentioned that he was not feeling well. His grandmother felt his head and Olaf and Gunnar both looked at him strangely.

"You did not seem sick at breakfast," Olaf said. "You ate good."

"He ate more than me," Gunnar said. "More than both of us."

"I just feel kind of sick," the boy said, knowing it was a lost cause. "It only came over me now."

"Well," his grandmother said, "I'll just have to stay home tonight and make sure you are all right."

The looks Olaf and Gunnar sent him were withering and he knew it was over. "I think it will be all right. I think I just drank too much milk. I'm still not used to whole milk."

Preparations began right after evening chores.

Under the Cover