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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Growing A Reader with Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere

Growing A Reader
by Heidi Heilig

Age 8 (ish) 

My dad has read to my sister and I every night, as long as I can remember. Tonight is no exception. Extra excitement—we’re starting a new book, having just finished a collection of Poe’s short stories. (That’s my dad for you.)

The Epic of Gilgamesh,” he says to us, as we lay snuggled in our beds in the dim light. “Introduction.” 

We start hearing about the discovery of the clay tablets, early Sumerian poems, translators—the history behind the myth. A page turns. And another, and another. He drones on.

“Dad,” I whisper while he turns yet another page. “How long is the introduction?”

The pages rustle as he checks. “Fifty one pages.”


“Shh, settle down.”

We’re not even a quarter of the way through the introduction when he falls asleep. While he’s snoring, I check the book—the actual story is only forty six pages long.

Age 10 or so 

I read everywhere. In bed. In the car. Under the table at holiday dinners. I’m an awkward child, with few friends, but I’m never ever lonely.

Age 17 

My family moves to New York during my senior year of high school. My best friend is back in Hawaii and this is before cell phones and unlimited plans. But all of my other friends have come with me in boxes. I go to my new room—it’s the size of a medium closet. My mom has unpacked my books first and I feel at home.


About the Author
Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko'olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.

She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she's written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their pet snake, whose wings will likely grow in any day now.

About The Girl from Everywhere

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.
    Learn more about the Growing A Reader series here!


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