Stay

By Katherine Lawrence

Winner, 2017 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award (Gold)
for Children’s Poetry

Millie is eleven going on twelve when her life is upended by her parents’ decision to separate. Her mother gets a new boyfriend, and her father moves into a new place: an apartment with a big sign on the door that says NO DOGS ALLOWED. Since there’s nothing Millie wants more than a dog of her own, that seems like the biggest blow of all.

Hoping to get her parents back together—not just for her sake, but for the sake of her future dog—Millie is elated when her father moves back in after a short while. She can’t understand why her parents aren’t happy at the reconciliation until she learns the truth: her father is back because he has been diagnosed with cancer.

Told in verse by acclaimed Canadian poet Katherine Lawrence, Stay is a moving, touching, and yet often humorous portrait of a family in a time of crisis, whose pain is filtered through the thoughts and actions of an eleven-year-old girl. Stay captures the essence of what it means to grow up, confront your fears, support your family, and share in the wild optimism that only youth can harbour.

Cover design by Tania Craan.

“At first glance, Stay appears to be modest in length, form, and story. But within the spare pages of this middle-grade novel in verse is a powerful narrative about a family in transition, and the young girl at its centre who needs to form something new and whole from what remains. . . Stay might be a quick read, but it’s a book that should be savoured.” –  – Quill & Quire (starred review)

“While a child can teach a dog to ‘Stay,’ a child cannot cause parents to stay together. This free-verse novel is a powerful portrayal of a nuclear family that is coming apart . . . Stay would be well-paired with Shari Green’s Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles, another free verse novel about a similarly-aged girl whose family is also disintegrating. Highly Recommended.” – Canadian Review of Materials

“Stay is brilliantly written; each word serves its purpose and powerfully paints the characters. The format is wonderfully unique. It manages to be both accessible to children and lyrically sophisticated at the same time. Heavy subject matter is treated with a deft hand.” – Judges, Children’s Literature Award, 2018 Saskatchewan Book Awards (Finalist)

“Katherine Lawrence’s middle grade novel-in-verse, Stay, evokes the changeable emotions of eleven-year-olds and the enduring truths of community. Here is a world of families in transition, poor puppy training, and the possibility of discovering something new within the tatters of the old. Filled with charm and world play, Stay is a hopeful response to our modern struggles . . . It’s everyday magic—stirred up, made bright.” – Judges, Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award, 2018 Saskatchewan Book Awards (Finalist)

 

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