Description Mockingbird in Mark Twain’s Hat
Mockingbird in Mark Twain’s Hat, is an adventure story full of animals that talk. Wynne is a precocious mockingbird born in the rural south in the late 1800s. His whole family are singers, but at four days old, he wants to be a novelist just like his hero, Mark Twain. When crows attack his nest, he’s swept away on an epic adventure along the Mississippi River. Wynne learns to read and write, makes new friends in surprising places, and is mentored by Mark Twain himself. Full of delightful quotes from Mark Twain, this novel for children ages 8-12 shines with important lessons of character, perseverance, love, and the importance of friendship.
Praise Mockingbird in Mark Twain’s Hat
“We LOVE this book! As we finish each chapter, we can’t wait to find out what happens next! I am ordering another few copies as gifts for my daughter’s friends.”- Yaron, Amazon
“With ‘The Mockingbird in Mark Twain's Hat’, Kaia Alexander is at the top of her formidable writing talents. She has mastered historical fiction, screenwriting and with this, a timeless children's story. This is a delightful adventure featuring unforgettable animal characters that will become embedded in the heart of every reader. Whether you read this to a little one or gift it to a child to read, this is an ideal book that entertains and enthralls with every page while evoking a period and piece of literary history. I believe that Mark Twain himself would approve! Kaia not only brings her beloved animals to life, but she evokes the universal yearning to uniquely express oneself, like the protagonist of the story, Wynne. Above and beyond a simple children's story, Kaia weaves in thematic layers that remind me of myth and legend. I guarantee that the characters and story will stick with you forever and inspire children to be themselves, challenge themselves, and learn to write! They may even become interested in Mr. Twain himself, just like Wynne. Or maybe, the kinds of songs that Wynne learns to sing, and that they can learn to sing their own.”-Stuart Volkow, Amazon
“Like all Kaia Alexander's books, it's a page turner and you can't put it down! A delightful adventure with twists and surprises. Love the characters and the illustrations. This is a great gift book for children as well as adults and sure to become a classic! ”- S. Peck, Amazon
(Goes with illustration for Chapter 2 by Elaina Scott)
Singing lessons began promptly at dawn. I was no trumpeter, but my brother Earle made my father proud, prancing across the nest, bellowing the notes that had been heard in our neighborhood since the beginning of the Willem Woods: wren, thrush, warbler, finch, bluebird and cardinal, creaking oak branches, the cicada hum, even the frogs by the stream. We repeated each in succession, three times. But the tunes always got stuck in my throat. What was worse, I just didn’t care, and I was terrible at pretending I did.
Papa glared at me in disappointment. “You are shaming this family, Wynne.”
“I don’t mean to, Pops. I just—I just—”
“I don’t want to hear one word. You’re a mockingbird and we sing. That’s the end of it.”
I bowed my head. “Yes, Sir.”
Our lesson that particular morning was interrupted by a young girl with long auburn braids and a spray of freckles across her cheeks who passed beneath our nest on the way to school, singing a pretty melody and whistling the lines she couldn’t remember. I tried whistling back, but my father gave me a light smack with his wing and told me never to mock humans.
That evening, on the longest branch of our tree, my mother said to my father, “Give him time, Tennessee.” She stroked his feathers and nuzzled his cheek.
Papa shrugged, exasperated with me. “He’s older than Possum, and Possum seems to be taking to the music just fine.”
“He’s not Possum,” she said. “Give him time.”
“He has to learn the songs of our family,” he said. “It’s in his blood.”
“I’ll talk to him,” said Mama.
Mama began in earnest, “Why don’t you give singing a real try? You won’t know it’s not for you if you don’t try.”
“It’s not my gift, Mama. Earle is the singer. I want to be a writer.”
She sighed. “Wynne, this is how it is. If you ever want a sweetheart, you need to learn to sing.”
“A sweetheart? But I don’t want a sweetheart.”
“Certainly not now, but you will.”
“She wouldn’t love a writer?”
“I don’t know, Wynne. Being different is painful sometimes. I think you might grow up to be a lonely bird and regret your decision.
“It’s my job as your mother to protect you from a fallen future. I want to see you soar.”
I nodded, but my plumage drooped, and I sulked the rest of the day.
After dinner, while our parents went for a quick flight down to the meadow beyond the creek, I turned to Earle in hopes of a story. “How did Mama and Papa meet?”
Earle was delighted to recount the tale. Even Sissy bent an ear. Possum, the baby of our nest, hopped over to me and nuzzled against my chest. “Do tell it, Earle,” he said. “And don’t leave anything out.”
Earle cleared his throat. “Our father comes from a long line of fine mockingbirds, a lineage respected in every wood all the way to the Mississippi River. His father, Honey-Pop, named him Tennessee, after his grandfather’s kin.”
“Grandpa!” said Possum.
“Yes, indeed. Well, once he fledged he hopped down to the MacMaster’s fence each morning in his finest grey suit and regaled the neighborhood with a traditional song that had all the old folks nodding in approval. He pranced back and forth, tail bobbing up and down, eyes closed in the rapture of that sweet jazz, but then he’d open them a crack—just enough to see if the prettiest girl in the Willem Woods would appear. She had the feathers of a fine silk, truly rare bird, hatched from the only egg in her parents’ nest, which made her their favorite.”
“Mama!” declared Possum.
“Yes, indeed. For three weeks, she evaded Tennessee’s advances. She was proud and raised to believe she deserved only the best in a bird. Trouble was, she had another suitor by the name of Ricketts, who was once blown in a fierce gale all the way to New Orleans and down to the bayou, where he learned to sing the blues. He had returned from his daring adventure to wed our mother. But if that had happened, we would never have been born.”
Possum fluffed his feathers. “But we were born!”
“That’s right, Possum. But at the time, traditional gentlemen of our woods had no stories to compete with the adventures Ricketts boasted of.”
A traditional repertoire for a mockingbird means learning the local jive, the history of your neck of the woods, the way your father sang it. But the blues were taking over, pernicious,
creeping like wild kudzu up from the south to overcome the hearts of young mockingbirds who longed to feel a new kind of music in their bones. Our mother was one of these.
Guest Review by Gracie S.
'Mockingbird in Mark Twain's Hat,' by Kaia Alexander is the perfect book for young readers. Filled with adventure, interesting characters and information that is delivered in a fun way, this children's book is an unforgettable trip along the Mississippi River.
The main character, Wynne is a little mockingbird with big dreams. Rather than just sing his songs like the other mockingbirds, Wynne wants to be a writer like his hero Mark Twain. Although his siblings tease him, Wynne holds onto his dream.
Danger soon intrudes into his small world in the form of flocks of crows that begin attacking his family's nest to try to get at the baby mockingbirds. Wynne ends up being knocked out of the nest and onto the ground where he is attacked by a large gray cat that roams the nationhood. Terrified, Wynne tries to defend himself, only to be saved by a little girl on her way home from school.
Not knowing where Wynne's nest is, the little girl brings him to her home where she decides to keep him as a pet. Initially, Wynne is happy to be going on an adventure, but soon he grows lonely and longs for his family.
One day, the girl brings him on a train to the county fair, where the jostling of the crowd manages to bump his cage enough to open the door and free him. But, unable to find his way back to his nest, Wynne ends up getting the adventure that he wished for and he must go on a journey along the Mississippi river where he meets many interesting characters, including Mark Twain himself.
This story was a delight to read and although it is a children's book, I think all ages would get a kick out of it. I certainly did.
About Kaia Alexander
Kaia Alexander is an award-winning novelist, filmmaker, and writing coach, as well as founder of the Entertainment Business League, who can be found surfing her native California coastline.
This giveaway is for 1 print copy to 3 winners. It is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on July 1, 2021,midnight pacific time.
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