A tale split between a narrative in the modern day and one in World War II shows the very best of people in the worst of times. Anne O’Brien Carelli’s Skylark and Wallcreeper gives young readers a fictional but personal look at the lives of young French Resistance fighters, one of whom grows up to be an elderly survivor of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Before readers meet Collette as a resistance fighter, she is introduced in the modern era as an old woman who lives in a nursing home due to her struggles with dementia. Collette’s granddaughter Lily is stranded at the care facility as Superstorm Sandy dumps tons of water on parts of New York and New Jersey, causing massive flooding and power outages. When the evacuation order is given, the residents get moved, but not before Lily’s grandmother tells her to grab a mysterious red box and a packet of letters.
Later, while on a food foraging mission for the nursing home’s residents, Lily loses the mysterious box and its precious contents. Now on a mission of her own, Lily braves the turmoil of the storm in order to rescue her grandmother’s treasure.
Through her search, Lily learns that her grandmother disguised herself as a boy to secretly convey messages for the resistance army, at great personal peril. As the narrative shifts back to Collette’s childhood, the German soldiers and French police patrol the town all hours of the day and night, and one night things do not go as planned. Will the French Resistance be jeopardized?
Carelli’s parallel storylines plow deep into loyalties of friends, family and country and create two compelling portraits of heroes in action.