Today, I’m pleased to welcome Deborah Hopkinson to Orange Marmalade. Deborah is the award-winning author of dozens of superb nonfiction and historical fiction books for children.
Her newest novel, A Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket, was released last week.
It’s a riveting story starring a scrappy immigrant boy in late-19th century New York City. I had the privilege to talk with Deborah about her book as part of her blog tour and today I’ve got those questions and answers for you, plus a signed copy of her book to give away!
A Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket, by Deborah Hopkinson
pubished in 2016 by Alfred A. Knopf
Rocco is an 11-year-old boy, newly arrived in New York City. His impoverished Italian family has sold him to a corrupt padrone who puts him to work as a street musician. But the cruel, Dickensian conditions drive Rocco to seek a better income with a band of pick-pockets.
Rocco’s considerable misadventures lead him, by chance, to an acquaintance he calls Meddlin’ Mary, and her father, Mick, who are dedicated to caring for abused workhorses in the city. He also encounters a man named Jacob Riis who is just as dedicated to caring for abused children.
With a propensity for wheelin’ and dealin’ and lying to save his skin, Rocco soon lands in a dangerous entanglement between his shady connections and his esteemed new friends.
Woven into this fast-paced, engaging story are a number of thought-provoking ideas about truth and lies, things seen vs. things hidden, and the power of kindness. It’s an exceptional story that I highly recommend for ages 9 and up. It would make a brilliant book club selection with ample material for discussion. Hopkinson includes extensive historical addendums in the book and makes use of historical photos to illustrate the text.