The display in Salt Lake carried several similar books--all award winning in previous years. A String in the Harp, by Nancy Bond, won a Newbery Honor, and several other awards in its time. It was first published in 1976. This latest edition was published by Aladdin Paperbacks in May 2007. It was written for ages 9 - 13.
I suggest the need for avid readers because the book tends to be a little long winded in places when compared with today's material. Having said that, I have to admit I’m engrossed. Mind you, it is set in Wales, UK--a hop and a skip up the road from Caernarvon, the town where I was born, so I guess I am a little biased.
When I was young, my family often traveled the long coastal road from Aberystwyth alongside Cardigan Bay on our way to a Welsh holiday destination. I can see in vivid detail every description Nancy writes.
The story tells what happens to three American children, unwillingly transplanted to Wales for one year, when one of them finds an ancient harp-tuning key that takes him back to the time of the great sixth-century bard, Taliesin.
To quote from the book blurb, “When fifteen-year-old Jen Morgan flies to Wales to spend Christmas with her family, she’s not expecting much from the holiday. A year after her mother’s sudden death, her father is preoccupied by the teaching job that has brought him and Jen’s younger siblings to Wales for the year. Her brother, Peter, is alternately hostile and sullen, and her sister Becky, misses Jen terribly.
"Then Peter tells Jan he’s found a strange artifact, a harp key that shows him pictures from the life of Taliesin, the great bard whose life in six century Wales has been immortalized in legend. At first Jen doesn’t believe him, but when the keys existence – and it strange properties – become known to the wider world, the Morgans must act together against a threat to the key and to their family."
I recommend this book because it not only transports the reader to another country and brings the place to life, but it also dives back in time and turns an adventure into a fascinating history lesson in disguise. And it's clean, to boot.