Friday, April 18, 2014

A Bird on Water Street

I wanted to take a moment to talk about a touching new book--one that ties perfectly into this month's upcoming Earth Day.

A BIRD ON WATER STREET is a fictional environmental story based on a real town and a real era in American history. I had the good fortune to hear about this book earlier this year, and when I sat down to read it, I couldn't stop.

Elizabeth Dulemba takes readers to a setting almost entirely unbelievable: Coppertown USA, just over 30 years ago. This small Appalachian mining town is like "living on the moon". There's no nature here. No birds, no bugs, no trees. Just scarred earth. Dulemba's skill is twofold, and the first half of that is placing the reader in this incredible setting. She paints the picture of this alien world so visibly, that I wanted to bust into the pages myself to plant some seeds and give this poor town some life back.

Her second great skill is involving the reader in the struggles of the Coppertown community. I was rooting not only for the main character--young Jack, who just wanted a chance to live near some trees--but for all the mining families whose lives were shaken by a series of layoffs and accidents. Dulemba crafts a world where everyone's story matters, which is so completely authentic to small town lifestyle.

I highly recommend giving this a read if you're at all interested in environmental tales, modern historical fiction, or just love a heartfelt story about family and real life relationships. I finished it weeks ago and still feel touched by the residents of Coppertown.

You can find A BIRD ON WATER STREET online at Barnes and Noble or on Amazon. And you can find Elizabeth Dulemba on the web at

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