October 23rd, 2016

Rumney Memorial Teacher Releases Novel Geared Toward Middle Schoolers Who Want to Make a Difference

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By Aaron Retherford
In recent years, popular tween-focused literature has leaned toward fantasy worlds involving wizards, vampires or teenagers fighting to the death.

But what about literature geared toward teens who care about the reality right here in their backyards?

Katy Farber, a sixth-grade teacher at Rumney Memorial School in Middlesex, decided to take a different approach in her first fiction offering. It might be well received in a socially-conscious state like Vermont.

“I think this book gives kids an alternative pathway. I think tweens can be stereotyped in that they only care about their devices or they only care about their social lives,” Farber said. “But I’ve found that this level student can really be leaders. They can be invested in social justice and making the world a better place.

“I feel like they need a different narrative presented to them. The book deals with some aspects of bullying and difficult relationships, and how you can work through them. I wanted to give kids more experience with that. What could it look like to stand up for somebody? What could it look like to be yourself even when that’s hard. Those are some of the themes from the book.”

On Friday, May 1, Farber will host a Book Launch and Party for her new book, The Order of the Trees, at 5 p.m. in the Rumney Memorial School Library.

The Order of the Trees is a middle grade fiction/adventure novel that takes place in Vermont, following the story of middle schoolers who work together in order to save a forest that is mysteriously connected to the health of one of the protagonists.

This topic is right up Farber’s alley. Farber started out as an environmental educator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in natural resources, and earned her Master’s in teaching with a concentration in mid-level science.

Not only is her book set in the Green Mountain State, but she was able to work with Vermont-based Green Writers Press.

“It’s a really neat, new publishing house out of Brattleboro. I love their mission of helping writers make the world a better place,” Farber said.

Farber said the book could potentially turn into a series if it catches on. She’s already started churning around some ideas in her head. Similar stories could take place around other habitats like rivers or lakes and could involve a different set of main characters.

Farber has other events coming up to promote the book. She will hold readings at Bridgeside Books in Waterbury (May 5, 6 p.m.) and Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier (May 7, 5:30 p.m.). She will be back at Kellogg-Hubbard Library at 3 p.m. on May 14 for a writing workshop on adolescent activism.

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