Across the Pond By Joy McCullough Cover Image
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Spring 2021 Kids Indie Next List

“This a wonderful story that makes you feel like the world is brimming with possibilities even when everything seems to be going wrong. A lovely coming-of-age story about family, friendship, and birding with a little history thrown in, Across the Pondwill make you smile so wide your face will hurt and it will warm your heart so much you’ll never want to stop grinning.”
— Marielle Orff, Towne Book Center and Wine Bar, Collegeville, PA


From the author of A Field Guide to Getting Lost comes a heartwarming, “emotionally perceptive” (Kirkus Reviews) story about new beginnings, burgeoning friendships, and finding your flock.

Callie can’t wait for her new life to start. After a major friendship breakup in San Diego, moving overseas to Scotland gives her the perfect chance to reinvent herself. On top of that, she’s going to live in a real-life castle!

But as romantic as life in a castle sounds, the reality is a little less comfortable: it’s run-down, freezing, and crawling with critters. Plus, starting off on the wrong foot with the gardener’s granddaughter doesn’t help her nerves about making new friends. So she comes up with the perfect solution: she’ll be homeschooled. Her parents agree, on one condition: she has to participate in a social activity.

Inspired by a journal that she finds hidden in her bedroom, Callie decides to join a birding club. Sure, it sounds unusual, but at least it’s not sports or performing. But when she clashes with the club leader, she risks losing a set of friends all over again. Will she ever be able to find her flock and make this strange new place feel like home?

About the Author

Joy McCullough writes books and plays from her home in the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is the author of the middle grade novels Across the Pond, A Field Guide to Getting LostNot Starring Zadie LouiseCode Red, and Basil & Dahlia and the picture books Harriet’s Ruffled Feathers, Champ and Major: First Dogs, and The Story of a Book. Her debut novel Blood Water Paint was longlisted for the National Book Award and was a William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist. Visit her at

Praise For…

"The intensely awkward self-consciousness of the middle school years is presented with realistic sensitivity and insight. An emotionally perceptive story of awakening compassion for self and others."
— Kirkus Reviews

"McCullough writes with compassion and knowledge as she traces Callie’s ups and downs in a new country alongside her burgeoning, awkwardly won knowledge of friendship and self." 

— Publishers Weekly

"With appealing jacket art, a distinctive setting, and an involving narrative, this inviting book delivers a good story."
— Booklist

"McCullough has created a realistic and compelling story about belonging. Even readers unfamiliar with birdwatching will enjoy learning about the history of the sport and the subtle differences that separate species. . . [a] sweet middle-grade novel of self-acceptance and finding one's flock."
— Shelf Awareness

Product Details
ISBN: 9781534471214
ISBN-10: 1534471219
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 16th, 2021
Pages: 288
Language: English