Berkshires author Ali Benjamin to visit Bennington


BENNINGTON >> Berkshires-based author Ali Benjamin will visit Bennington on Wednesday to talk about her book, "The Thing About Jellyfish."

The talk and book signing is intended for families with middle school students, said Phil Lewis, owner of the Bennington Bookshop, which is co-sponsoring the event, along with the Bennington Free Library. The talk will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the library.

"The Thing About Jellyfish" is Benjamin's first novel, but she has several other published works, including "The Cleaner Plate Club," a book filled with healthy recipes for children, "Positive," a memoir that she co-wrote with HIV-positive teen Paige Rawl, and the sports memoir "Keeper," which she co-wrote with American soccer player Tim Howard. She has also written for the Boston Globe Magazine and Martha Stewart's Whole Living Online. Benjamin also worked as casting director and story researcher for the Emmy-winning "Sesame Street" documentary "Growing Hope Against Hunger," in 2012, alongside her sister, director Cynthia Wade.

"Jellyfish" tells the story of Suzy Swanson, a middle school student who is determined to find out the truth behind her friend's death in an apparent swimming accident. The coming-of-age story was a National Book Award finalist, was called one of the Best Books for Youth of 2015 by Booklist, was named the fourth best children's and young adult book of the year by TIME magazine, and was declared one of the best books of the year by the School Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly.

"Benjamin's inverse approach to tragedy, placing the death at the beginning of the novel and storytelling through the grieving process, transcends the tragedy trope," wrote the School Library Journal, "as the story triumphs in the affecting realities of emotional response and resilience. VERDICT Strong readers of middle grade realistic fiction will fully immerse themselves in this superbly written, heartfelt novel." Booklist Magazine referred to the work as, "An uncommonly fine first novel."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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