Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blog Tour: Six Weeks to Yehidah by Melissa Studdard

by Melissa Studdard
All Things That Matter Press, 2011
ISBN13: 9780984651702
Grades 6 and up
E-Copies received from author for review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

"The thing you would notice most was the rain, how the rain fell and fell and never seemed to stop. The sky was constantly swollen with it, then birthing it, swollen, then birthing again, and the hills, like greedy babies, suckled up all that rain. They shone and glistened green as the backs of frogs on bright green lily pads.

Annalise was ten then, old enough that she’d begun thinking about grown up things, like picking her own clothes out for school, yet young enough, still, to indulge in fanciful imaginings of enchanted trees and talking hills. Her best friends were the clouds that canopied her village and the verdant hills that hosted her most precious and outrageous dreams."

As spunky young Annalise travels from one adventure to another, she learns ancient wisdom traditions and gains deeper and deeper insight into herself and her world. Eventually she must make the most important decision she's ever faced -- whether or not to return to the self she has always known.


Melissa Stud­dard is the author of the best­selling novel Six Weeks to Yehi­dah, and its companion journal, My Yehidah (both on All Things That Matter Press). Since its August 2011 release, Six Weeks to Yehidah has been the recipient of many accolades, including the Forward National Literature Award and January Magazine's best children's books of 2011. It was also named a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards and is a current finalist for the Readers Favorite Awards. Along with Scott Lutz, Melissa is co-author of For the Love of All (Trestle Press), which is the fifth story in the Mark Miller’s One series and debuted in the number one spot for Hot New Releases in Literary Criticism and Theory in the Amazon Kindle store. As well, her poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, and arti­cles have appeared in numer­ous magazines, jour­nals, and antholo­gies. Melissa cur­rently serves as a Reviewer-at-Large for The National Poetry Review, an editorial advisor for Lapis Lazuli Journal of The Harold Pinter Society of India, and a con­tribut­ing edi­tor for Tiferet Journal. She is also the host of Tiferet Journal’s radio program, Tiferet Talk. Melissa received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is a professor at a community college in Texas and a teaching artist at The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative.

As you might have guessed already, she loves anything related to writing and reading, whether it's sitting alone with a book and a cup of hot tea, or attending a large poetry reading or literary festival. She also loves travelling, meditating, going for walks, bicycling, practicing yoga, and spending time with family.

She currently resides in Texas with her wonderful daughter and their four sweet but mischievous cats.


This is a very unusual sort of book, at least compared to what I normally read. I don't read a lot of literary fiction, I prefer a straight-forward kind of story, but I found this book very thought-provoking. I couldn't just read it as a story, I had to think deeper about what the author was trying to say or what she seemed to be saying. This is the sort of story that what you see in it depends on what you bring to it. For example, when Annalise first enters the world above the clouds she runs into a hag named Hagski who starts running her through a bunch of nonsense rules about rules.  When I read this I immediately thought of government red tape and how so much of the good that government agencies could do becomes pointless because of all the paperwork and requirements that must be met. I have a feeling that a teenager reading this would see something very different.

I especially enjoyed the section about the Utopia Falls and how the people there have learned to let go of the need for power or money or pride, and see no one as more important than anyone else.  Annalise learns that silence is all around us and that much can be learned just be being still and listening and the satisfaction of a job well done. This is a book worthy of much thought and discussion both in and out of the classroom.

For those looking for the opportunity to jot down some of their own thoughts and ideas based on Annalise's experiences as well as their own, there is a journal that complements the book. There are beautiful illustrations to color as well as prompts for writing about one's own thoughts and feelings about different aspects of Annalise's experience, such as really listening to something rather than just trying to get a noise to stop.

I recommend both these books for those who want to look at the world in a new way, see things you've never noticed before and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

Pick any color and describe what you think it would feel like to be this color. What sorts of things would it say if it could speak? What would its voice sound like? What would it smell like if it had a scent?

Based on the bestselling, award-winning novel Six Weeks to Yehidah, this companion journal takes children (and the young at heart) on a journey of meaningful exploration and creativity through drawing, mandala coloring, and writing prompts.


  1. Thank you for such a wonderful review. I am really glad you enjoyed the book! I thought it was a beautiful story.

  2. I am part of this tour as well!
    Great review and tour stop! :]

  3. Thanks for such a thorough and thoughtful review! Looking forward to yours too, Jill :)

  4. Thanks for such a thorough and thoughtful review! Looking forward to yours too, Jill :)


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