Get to Know Crow from Lauren Wolk’s ‘Beyond the Bright Sea’
The Children’s Book Review | May 1, 2017
A heart-to-heart with Crow from Lauren Wolk’s Beyond the Bright Sea, the moving story of an orphan, determined to know her own history, who discovers the true meaning of family.
The Children’s Book Review: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Crow: That depends. Sometimes it’s a real thing, like Osh telling me to hurry up before the tide comes in and covers the clamming beds … or goes out and makes it harder to launch our skiff. (He doesn’t really need my help with the skiff, but it’s nice to think that he does.) Sometimes Mouse wakes me, which makes no sense because she gets her own breakfast. Sometimes it’s the sun, the wind, the sound of surf. But every day it’s knowing the Osh and Miss Maggie are up, which gives me very little reason to stay in bed.
I see you have a bag with you. Will you tell us what you keep inside of it?
I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you that. I wish I could, but it’s a secret. And it’s not just my secret.
Are you hungry right now? Can I fix you anything to eat? Maybe I could make you your favorite dish?
Do you know how to milk a cow, churn butter, make cheese, bake biscuits with the cheese in them, glaze them in the butter while they’re still hot? Ask Miss Maggie. She knows how. Do you know how to dig clams? Shuck them right away … without cutting yourself? Fry them with bacon and onions until they’re soft? Ask Osh. He knows how. If you add brine and potatoes and carrots and then, at the end, some cream you’ll know why I love clam chowder with Miss Maggie’s biscuits. Let me know when it’s ready.
I’ll definitely ask Miss Maggie and Osh for some help!
Do you like to read?
I do. Very much. Stories and real things, both, though sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Anne of Green Gables seems pretty real to me. The Book of Buried Treasure: Being a True History of the Gold, Jewels, and Plate of Pirates, Galleons, Etc., which are Sought for to this Day is full of stories that seem made up. (Though I know they’re not. How do I know? Well, that relates to your question about secrets.)
Do you have a favorite song?
No. There’s not much singing on Cuttyhunk. Sometimes the summer people sing when they’re having picnics. The men stand up and sing something. The children mostly ignore them but the women laugh and clap. From a distance, it’s hard to tell what they’re singing. Osh sometimes sings under his breath when he’s working, but it’s in a language I don’t understand. I do make up songs, though. Nothing with words. Just the kind of music people make when they don’t think too much about it.
Are you a rule follower or rule breaker?
That depends on the rule. And who made it. And whether it’s worth breaking. I’ve been known to break one or two for good reason. Mostly other people’s rules. Mine, I generally follow. Luckily, Osh and Miss Maggie don’t have a lot of rules. And they’re usually not the kind that people write down. I agree with most of them, so they’re really my rules, too. Not completely unbreakable, but more likely to bend a little than to break altogether.
When was the last time you felt embarrassed?
Well, I don’t know about embarrassed. Osh and Miss Maggie are the best kind of people, and by that I mean very good and very smart and very easy to love. But they can be hard, too. And they let me know when I make a mistake. That’s when I feel embarrassed. The last time? When they found out that I had crossed over to New Bedford by myself. Which relates to the rule-breaking question, too. Maybe more ashamed than embarrassed. But not for doing what I did. Just for lying about it.
If you weren’t answering the questions in this interview right now, what would you be doing?
It’s winter and snowing pretty hard, so I wouldn’t be working in the garden, or lobstering, or picking mussels, but I might be watching Osh paint, or bringing in Miss Maggie’s sheep if she thinks the snow’s going to amount to anything, or reading a book by the fire. We’re down to the last of the coal, so I might go looking for more when the tide’s out, though we’ve harvested most all of it. The short answer is: I’d be doing whatever Osh and Miss Maggie are doing. Now that I know where I’m from, I’m especially happy where I am. With them.
Do you have any secrets you would like to share with us before you go?
No. Maybe if I knew you better. Though I can share this: some secrets are just waiting to be unveiled. Some are better kept in the dark. I have both. I’ll bet you do, too.
Written by Lauren Wolk
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the author of Newbery Honor–winner Wolf Hollow, the moving story of an orphan, determined to know her own history, who discovers the true meaning of family.
Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.
Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.
Vivid and heart-wrenching, Lauren Wolk’s Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.
★ “Crow is a determined and dynamic heroine with a strong intuition, who pieces together the puzzle of her past while making profound realizations about the definition of family.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ “Beautiful, evocative.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1101994856
About Lauren Wolk
Lauren Wolk is an award-winning poet and author of the Newbery Honor–winning Wolf Hollow, described by the New York Times Book Review as “full of grace and stark, brutal beauty.” She was born in Baltimore and has since lived in California, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Canada, and Ohio. She now lives with her family on Cape Cod.
This interview with Crow, a character in Lauren Wolk’s Beyond the Bright Sea, was conducted between Lauren Wolk and Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Books About Identity, Character Development, Lauren Wolk, and Orphans.