A review of the new middle grade fiction book, “Walking with Miss Millie”, plus an interview with the author, Tamara Bundy. Disclosure: we were sent a review copy of this book.
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My daughter Emma loves to read middle grade fiction books, and she often writes reviews for my blog. Walking with Miss Millie is on Emma’s recent favorites. I read it as well (on her recommendation), and loved it also. Today I’m excited to share an interview with the author, Tamara Bundy. I also have a giveaway for a copy of the book at the end of this post –
About the Book
Walking with Miss Millie takes place in the 1960s. Eleven-year-old Alice has just moved to Georgia with her mom and little brother. She barely has time to unpack before she gets herself in trouble. When she’s caught eavesdropping on a phone call on the party line, her mom sends her next door to apologize to their new neighbor, Miss Millie, a spry ninety-two-year-old woman. To make up for her rudeness, Alice agrees to walk Clarence, Miss Millie‘s blind dog, for the rest of the summer. But he refuses to go anywhere without Miss Millie, so the three of them soon develop a daily routine: walking together and Miss Millie sharing wisdom and stories from her long life.
Alice is fascinated, learning about Miss Millie‘s parents being slaves, and Miss Millie living most of her life as an African American woman in the segregated South. When she’s not with Miss Millie, Alice spends her time plotting to get her parents back together—she’s hardly heard from her dad since he left the family a year ago—but it’s a wasted effort. Fortunately, her growing bond with Miss Millie eases her sadness, broadens her understanding of life, and gives her a true, unbreakable friendship she’ll never forget.
About the Author
Tamara Bundy is a high school English teacher with a Master’s degree in writing. She is a former columnist for The Cincinnati Post (her regular column on being a mom also appeared on EWTN global Catholic radio). Walking With Miss Millie is her debut novel, and she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Review of Walking with Miss Millie
Here is my eleven-year-old daughter’s review of the book.
I read Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy. It was a really good book. I liked how Alice didn’t like Rainbow, Georgia, very much after she moves there to help her grandma. But then she meets Miss Millie. She starts walking Clarence, Miss Millie’s dog, with Miss Millie. They become friends. Miss Millie gives Alice gifts with symbolism, and I really like that part. But then something sad happens. But Alice has those gifts and the advice Miss Millie gave her, and it is okay. Alice is still sad, but she has those things that she can hold onto always. My favorite part was the symbolism in the gifts that Miss Millie gives Alice.
Walking with Miss Millie: Interview with the Author, Tamara Bundy
My daughter Emma wrote the questions for this book. She is eleven years old, just like the protagonist in the book. Emma also wants to be a published author someday! Emma’s goal for July is to write 30,000 words. She has over 8,000 words so far. So this was a very exciting opportunity for her!
What encouraged you to write this book?
When my own daughter was in middle school and feeling like she didn’t have any friends, she was asked to walk an elderly neighbor lady’s dog. Just like in the book, the dog wouldn’t walk unless the lady went along too. It turned into a wonderfully unique friendship in a time where my daughter needed a friend. When I got ready to write this down, my heart told me there could be even more to it if it happened in the 1960’s and the two characters were different races.
Have you ever had someone like Miss Millie in your life?
The original dog-walking lady was indeed a lot like Millie –she’d even give my daughter little things to thank her for the walk. And what’s more, I have been blessed with wise older people in my life. I think the oldest generation has so much to teach us all.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was at a County Fair, my dad won a contest for me. He told me to pick what I wanted at the prize booth. I by-passed the cute teddy-bears and asked for a large stuffed pencil in the back. It read; “I’m a Big time Writer”. I told him then that I wanted to write when I grew up. I still have that pencil today!
What is your best advice for people who want to become writers?
I tell people to write because they want to write or need to write. Don’t write only to get a book deal – or you will be frustrated a lot. Write because you need to get the words down. Write because it makes you feel better. And write, write, write. And then write some more. And of course, read, read, read.
How long did it take you to write Walking With Miss Millie?
Right now, it’s hard for me to think there was a time when I wasn’t working on Walking with Miss Millie! It has been an eight-year process that involved five revisions. But Millie landed me my agent and my first Middle Grade book deal –so I will be forever grateful.
What are your favorite books that you have read?
Great question. I teach high school English and LOVE teaching Of Mice and Men, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Tears of a Tiger, and Night, to name a few. This summer I have loved reading The Hate U Give and A Man Called Ove. And of course, I read so many middle grade novels. It is one of my favorite genres.
Have you read Walking with Miss Millie yet? What did you think? Do you have any other middle grade fiction reads to recommend for Emma? Any writing advice for Emma? Please let us know in the comments. You can also leave a note on my Facebook page, or tag me on Twitter or Instagram.