The Lost Language
The quest to save the words of a dying language - and to find the words to save what may be a dying friendship - lies at the heart of this exquisite verse novel.
Sixth grader Betsy is the one who informs her best friend, Lizard, that thousands of the world's languages are currently threatened by extinction; Betsy's mother is a linguistics professor working frantically to study dying languages before they are lost forever. But it is Lizard who, gripped by the magnitude of this loss, challenges Betsy, "What if, instead of WRITING about dying languages, like your mom, you and I SAVED one instead?"
As the girls embark on their quest to learn as much as possible of the near-extinct language of Guernésiais (spoken on the Isle of Guernsey, off the coast of France), their friendship faces unexpected strains. With Lizard increasingly obsessed with the language project, Betsy begins to seek greater independence from her controlling and charismatic friend, as well as from her controlling and charismatic mother. Then tragedy threatens Betsy's life beyond what any words can express, and Lizard does something unthinkable.
Maybe lost friendships, like lost languages, can never be completely saved.
An NCTE Notable Verse Novel
A Charlotte Huck Recommended Book
A Mighty Girl Best Book of the Year
A Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Book!
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection