Finalist 2018 MIPA Awards
Marie-Andrée at Ten / Marie-Andrée à Dix Ans is a nostalgic look back at life on an island off the west coast of France half a century ago told through the eyes of ten-year-old Marie-Andrée Taraud Sadrant. Marie-Andrée the middle sister of the seven Taraud daughters writes 26 letters in the course of one year (1965-66) to her pen pal Anne who lives in Minnesota. The letters usually light-hearted tell of daily life with her family her friends and her schoolmates.
Her father a fisherman as are most of the men on the island journeys for long distances and several weeks to catch tuna. There are dangers in the sea and the Taraud family keeps up with his boat by one-way radio. The little girls bathe in a tub of warm water in the kitchen the toilet is in an attached shed and every night there is a big pot of vegetable soup for supper. The simple pleasures she writes about include a seaside picnic playing with her dolls and her little sisters the excitement of a masked ball and a big sister's wedding and the arrival of her baby sister by helicopter!
Throughout the letters she is fun-loving and optimistic with a love for her family and her island. One thorn in her side is her sister Annie two years younger and taller than she is. Annie is stubborn but also a good companion. She wants to live on her island forever and have many babies but her mom says she needs a husband first! Many of the letters include descriptions of the island's features and a Lenten carnival in Nantes her first journey "abroad" to the mainland is also described.
Anne Gillespie Lewis was born in Minneapolis Minnesota in 1944. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and has worked as a reporter for Greenwich Time in Connecticut and as a sportswriter for the Minneapolis Star. At the time in the late &lsquo60s she was the first woman sportswriter in the Upper Midwest. Later she studied Scandinavian languages and literature at the University of Minnesota the Oslo International Summer School and the University of East Anglia in England. After the birth of her children she became a freelance writer for corporations newspapers and magazines. She is the author of nine books several of them focusing on the history of Swedish and Norwegian history in Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis Minnesota with her husband Steve.