Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Alexandria LaFaye’s Newest Novel Explores Challenges of Growing Up

...and Helps Area Youngsters Do Same at KidsPeace

In Alexandria LaFaye’s new novel, Water Steps, a young girl learns to overcome a traumatic childhood experience and eventually finds a new, safe, healthy and happy world filled with love. How perfectly fitting, then, that a portion of the proceeds from her latest creation should go to help children being helped to overcome traumas and crises at the local charity KidsPeace.

Ms. LaFaye, an award-winning writer of children’s books, chose KidsPeace because of its 126-year history of helping young people make their way through the many challenges and dangers of growing up.

“Your commitment to helping children is wonderful,” says LaFaye. “I am so glad that I chose KidsPeace as a charitable match for Water Steps. Yours is a story more people should know about.”

Like a child’s view of the world, the story is both realistic and fantastic, and creates a vivid and insightful story about a teenage girl, Kyna, and the importance of family ties and personal strength.

When Kyna’s parents announce that they have rented a summerhouse on Lake Champlain, Kyna’s heart fills with dread. As a child who witnessed the death of her family during a storm at sea, Kyna has a fear of water, which no amount of prodding from her adoptive, water-loving parents can alleviate. After arriving at the house, Kyna finds that the only other kid her age is Tylo, a boy neighbor obsessed with proving that silkies, animals similar to those in Loch Ness, inhabit the lake. To prove to Tylo that the silkies are merely a legend, Kyna must face her paralyzing fear of water in ways she never could have anticipated.

Water Steps masterfully combines elements of folklore and fantasy with a contemporary, realistic depiction of one girl’s struggle to overcome her fears and traumas of the past. Engaging and imaginative, Water Steps is a story for young readers who like adventures and surprise endings.

“The book is a delight and beautifully captures the pleasures, pain, and occasionally, terrors of childhood,” says KidsPeace Bowdon Executive Director Scott Merritt. “Alexandria LaFaye deeply understands children and their feelings - something those who work with kids wish was more common. We are honored that Ms. LaFaye, who has done so much to enrich the lives of America’s children, has come to be counted as a friend of the children at KidsPeace. On behalf of all the Kynas and Tylos we help to overcome crises every day, thank you!”

** Copies of Water Steps (Milkweed Editions, $6.95 softcover/$16.95 hardcover) can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Powell’s, or online at www.milkweed.org . A portion of the proceeds from the softcover printing will go to KidsPeace.

KidsPeace is a 126-year-old children’s crisis charity dedicated to giving hope, help, and healing to children facing crisis. With three centers in Georgia, including a major residential campus in Bowdon, KidsPeace directly helps children with life-saving treatment to overcome the crises of growing up. Supported by VIP leaders, including its national spokesperson Leeza Gibbons and child safety and self-esteem icon RETRO BILL, KidsPeace helps millions each year through prevention and awareness campaigns designed to help America’s kids and parents avoid and overcome the kinds of crises that can strike any child - from disasters and personal traumas to family issues and life crises. KidsPeace was named “The Outstanding Organization” of its kind in the country by the American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children and was called “a prototype of what we need for all children everywhere” by the late, nationally renowned child and family expert, Dr. Lee Salk
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