Book Talk: The Ghost of Sandy Creek Claudia Schmidt Liess
More than a summer read, The Ghost of Sandy Creek is a book hard to resist.
Magical things happen in summer, especially for young boys and girls seeking for fun and adventure. Shelly wants a piece of that magic, but her stomach was in knots as she anxiously waited for the day, making her more apprehensive than excited about the next few months. Summer in Nebraska, and being away from her mom, her friends, and the fun activities in the big city doesn't quite sound like enticing. If anything—and the long bus ride with her aunt Lucy, her dad's sister, seems to attest to it—her next three months will be monotonous and boring.
After Shelly's parent's arranged separation, her dad went back to his hometown. Neither—the divorce or the moving away— is something Shelly could understand. Her dad makes beautiful paintings. Had he stayed back east, he could have made lots of money, but he made a beeline instead for Sandy Creek. Her mom, on the other hand, is passionate about her music and is now in Hollywood, shooting for a film that will highlight her talent. That leaves Shelly on her way to a summer in Sandy Creek, Nebraska. A lorn town with a population of 310.
Shelly will soon discover that Sandy Creek is the perfect place for summer. Granted it's a little too quiet, with only the bees buzzing and birds singing to punctuate hot afternoons, Sandy Creek is full of stories to tell, especially stories about the river behind their cottage. A river Shelly's dad asks her explicitly not to wade into alone. A river that took a young boy who now haunts the area, terrifying the people of Sandy Creek. Of course, all these sound silly to Shelly, New York City girl whose mother said there are no angels or ghosts, but will Sandy Creek, and its resident ghost change her mind, especially once she makes friends with adventurous young Zeta Johnson?
Zeta is the perfect company to run off with, chasing ghosts and summer adventure. What the friends discover will maybe help the spirit, if there really is one, find his peace. Or perhaps it will turn the whole town upside-down.
Claudia Schmidt Leiss's realistic depiction of idyllic life in the country will draw you into Sandy Creek, and the young girls Shelly and Zeta will remind you of summers you had or longed to have. More than a summer read, The Ghost of Sandy Creek is a book hard to resist.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" Satisfying and stimulating read. Claudia's The Ghost of Sandy Greek brings back memories."
—Sam Lanham, Production Editor, The BookWalker
Reviewed by Vera Hanley
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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Claudia (Henry, Schmidt) Liess was born in Arapahoe, Nebraska, the third of seven children. She entertained the younger children by telling stories and reading to them. After graduation from High School at Fairbury, Nebraska, Claudia married a gentle, loving farmer. They lived northwest of Bartley, Nebraska for thirty-four years. Life was good. They raised their four children, two buys and two girls, on the farm. Because of Bob's poor health, they moved into town. They shared two more years of marriage. Claudia drew and painted pictures and wrote stories to keep herself occupied while she cared for her husband. She has had six books published. In 2003 Claudia married Gale Liess, a kind, generous, local farmer and they have been happily married for ten years. They feel very blessed. Now rather than four grandchildren, she has twenty-nine grandchildren. So as you may guess, her storytelling days are not over.
From the author;
The Reasons that I wrote "The Ghost of Sandy Creek"
Claudia is a grandmother to twenty grandchildren, and she loves to tell them stories.
" When my children were growing up, I had a hard time getting books for them to read that would hold their interest. I would go with them to school when the book fair was going on and buy them books.
When I wrote the book 'The Ghost of Sandy Creek' I wanted it to be a book that would hold the interest of young people, and I wanted to introduce some of the cultures of our neck of the woods. The main characters in the book are regular twelve-year-old girls from different backgrounds that become good friends. They discuss the old story about a young lad that disappeared along the river many years ago. Those strange sounds at night make them wonder if the ghost is still roaming the river valley and can they do something to give the ghost peace?
I grew up on a farm at the edge of a small town, and I love to share my experiences with others. I have been so greatly blessed, and I learned so much by just visiting with others, and I would like to share some of the joy in living that I have been blessed with.
I had younger brothers and sisters, and I loved to tell them. They were my captive audience. We would pretend and exaggerate as we would interact with each other. At that time, 70 years ago, we didn't have the electronics to compete with for entertainment. "