Booktalk for NOOKS AND CRANNIES by Jessica Lawson

nooksTabitha Crum arrives home from school one day to find the family’s traveling trunks stacked at the door. Her parents have to get out of the country in a hurry, and they’ll be gone at least a year. They’re taking the family cat with them, but leaving Tabitha behind to scrub floors at the local orphanage.

That same day, Tabitha receives an invitation from a wealthy Countess. Tabitha is one of six children invited to spend the weekend with the Countess of Windermere at Hollingsworth Hall, an estate that is rumored to be haunted. Tabitha doesn’t know why she’s been invited, but she’s excited to have a fancy weekend before she’s banished to her new life of drudgery.

But strange things start to happen when Tabitha and the others arrive at Hollingsworth Hall. The very first night, a maid dies. Tabitha finds a drawer full of articles about grisly crimes. She hears the sound of ghosts.

Then one of the other children disappears. And a second one disappears. Will Tabitha be next?


Genre: mystery, historical fiction

Grades 4-7


Anna’s take on it:

Nooks and Crannies was a solid title in my Fall 2015 booktalks for 5th and 6th graders—I could depend on it being an easy sell. The story is set in early 20th century England (on a spooky estate, in the middle of a snow storm…), but the historical aspect takes back burner to the mystery. It is a great read for anyone who likes mysteries or spunky kid characters. And in fact, it can be a good choice even for those who don’t think they like mysteries. I had one 6th grader say she hadn’t been interested in mysteries before reading Nooks and Crannies, but she got hooked.