Enemies in the Orchard with Dana VanderLugt

Tuesday, September 12, 2023 - 6:30pm

Schuler Books
2660 28th Street SE 
Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Grab your Middle Grade reader and join us to discover a fascinating historical fiction, written in verse, about the little-known history of POW labor camps in the United States when Michigan author Dana VanderLugt visits. 

This event is free to attend. However it helps us in planning to receive your RSVP. Please register here so we know you plan to join us: https://schulerbooks-dana.eventbrite.com

About the Book
Set against the backdrop of WWII, this achingly beautiful middle grade novel in verse based on American history presents the dual perspectives of Claire, a Midwestern girl who longs to enter high school and become a nurse even as she worries for her soldier brother, and Karl, a German POW who's processing the war as he works on Claire's family farm. This poignant and moving story of an unlikely connection will stay with readers long after the final page.

It's October 1944, and while Claire's older brother, Danny, is off fighting in World War II, her dad hires a group of German POWs to help with the apple harvest on their farm. Claire wants nothing to do with the enemies in the orchard, until she meets soft-spoken, hardworking Karl. Could she possibly have something in common with a German soldier?

Karl, meanwhile, grapples with his role in the war as he realizes how many lies Hitler's regime has spread--and his complacency in not standing up against them. But his encounters with Claire give him hope that he can change and become the person he wants to be.

Inspired by the little-known history of POW labor camps in the United States, this lyrical verse novel is told in alternating first-person poems by two young people on opposite sides of the war. Against a vivid backdrop of home front tensions and daily life, intimate entries reveal Claire's and Karl's hopes and struggles, and their growing friendship even as the war rages on. What are their chances of connection, of redemption, of peace?

Enemies in the Orchard is:
A gorgeously written novel in verse for ages 9 and up
Historical fiction based on true events during WWII
A heartfelt story that explores connection, trauma, and hope

About the Author:
Dana VanderLugt is a writer and teacher who descends from a family of Michigan apple growers and storytellers. 

Her first book, Enemies in the Orchard: A World War 2 Novel in Verse, is slated to be published by ZonderKidz in September 2023. The middle grades novel is based on the stories of German POWs who came to work on her grandfather’s orchard during the 1940s.

Dana’s work has been published in Longridge Review, Relief: A Journal of Art & Faith, the Michigan Reading Journal, and The Reformed Journal, where she is also a frequent contributor on its daily blog. 

A former middle school English teacher, Dana now works as an instructional coach and has an MFA in Creative Writing from The Sena Jeter Naslund-Karen Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University. She lives in Michigan with her husband, three sons, and a spoiled golden retriever.

And yes, she makes a mean apple pie.

Enemies in the Orchard: A World War 2 Novel in Verse By Dana VanderLugt Cover Image
ISBN: 9780310155775
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on title for location specific availability.
Published: Zonderkidz - September 12th, 2023