Light and Air (Hardcover)

Light and Air By Mindy Nichols Wendell Cover Image
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It's 1935, and tuberculosis is ravaging the nation. Everyone is afraid of this deadly respiratory illness. But what happens when you actually have it?

When Halle and her mother both come down with TB, they are shunned—and then they are sent to the J.N. Adam Tuberculosis Hospital: far from home, far from family, far from the world.

Tucked away in the woods of upstate New York, the hospital is a closed and quiet place. But it is not, Halle learns, a prison. Free of her worried and difficult father for the first time in her life, she slowly discovers joy, family, and the healing power of honey on the children's ward, where the girls on the floor become her confidantes and sisters. But when Mama suffers a lung hemorrhage, their entire future—and recovery—is thrown into question....

Light and Air deals tenderly and insightfully with isolation, quarantine, found family, and illness. Set in the fully realized world of a 1930s hospital, it offers a tender glimpse into a historical epidemic that has become more relatable than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Halle tries to warm her father’s coldness and learns to trust the girls and women of the hospital, and as she and her mother battle a disease that once paralyzed the country, a profound message of strength, hope, and healing emerges.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

"Richly detailed... Timeless."—Shelf Awareness, starred review

"Emotionally honest... Satisfying."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Mindy Nichols Wendell taught writing and pedagogy at SUNY Fredonia for many years, where she served as the Director of the Composition Program. In 2019, she received the prestigious State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Mindy lives in Western New York with her husband, Steve, a retired teacher. She is located not far from the ruins of the J. N. Adam Tuberculosis Hospital, the inspiration for LIGHT AND AIR.

Praise For…

★ "Debut author Mindy Nichols Wendell thoughtfully explores the complexity of human responses to tragedy and grief. . . . Light and Air is both a richly detailed re-creation of a specific period in U.S. history and a timeless portrayal of resilience and compassion during an epidemic."Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

"A coming-of-age story set in a historical time period that will appeal to many readers. "—School Library Journal

"Wendell’s engaging, straightforward narrative makes the story highly accessible, and her portrayal of Halle will resonate with many readers. A satisfying first novel."—Booklist

"Readers may select this title seeking information about TB, but they’ll stay for the sweet-as-honey cast of characters."The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"[A] well-constructed historical debut. . . Via unflinching depictions of tragedy and strife, richly rendered period detail, and emotionally honest interpretations of parent-child relationships, Wendell builds satisfying suspense as Halle breaks facility rules to help her mother recover and struggles to win her father’s affection."Publishers Weekly

"A vivid work of historical fiction that explores how infectious disease can intersect with daily life."—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9780823454433
ISBN-10: 0823454436
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2024
Pages: 208
Language: English