In addition to six Parents Choice Awards, O’Connor’s distinctions include School Library Journal Best Books, Kirkus Best Books, Bank Street College Best Books, and ALA Notables. She has had books nominated for children’s choice awards in 38 states.
O’Connor applied the Page 69 Test to her latest book, Wish, and reported the following:
From page 69:Visit Barbara O'Connor's website.I never should’ve told him about my wishing. I’d never told anybody and now that I had, it did sound dumb. Why would anyone make the same wish every day if it never came true? Maybe I should give up.Wish is the story of eleven-year-old Charlie Reese, who has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.
But then guess what happened? I looked at the clock and it was 11:11! I closed my eyes and made my wish.
By the time I got home from school, my mad feelings about Howard were gone and I was glad he had a plan to catch Wishbone. When I told Bertha I was going to his house the next day, she was tickled pink. She kept telling me how good I was to be friends with Howard ‘cause other kids were so mean to him.
“Even in church,” she said. “Can you believe that?”
I didn’t tell her I sure could believe that, with the likes of Audrey Mitchell in that so-called church family.
That afternoon, Howard dropped into the seat next to me and said, “You can borrow my brother Lenny’s bike.”
“So you can get home. Better than walking.” He took a smashed bag of potato chips out of his backpack and emptied the crumbs into his mouth. “I got a real good plan,” he said. “You know. For catching Wishbone.”
Page 69 is a perfect page to represent the story. It reveals Charlie’s short temper, her daily wishing, her longing to catch a stray dog named Wishbone, and her growing friendship with easy-going Howard. It also gives us a glimpse into Bertha’s loving heart and Howard’s bullying by other kids. About the only thing not represented on that page is the setting – the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
Coffee with a Canine: Barbara O'Connor & Ruby and Matty.