Kate Albus is the author of A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON (2021) and NOTHING ELSE BUT MIRACLES (2023), both from Margaret Ferguson Books at Holiday House. Kate is originally from New York, but now lives in rural Maryland with her family, including some real people and some imaginary ones she’s conjured over the years (all of whom are beloved). Other than writing, her favorite activities are reading, knitting, baking, and other pastimes that are inherently quiet.
Author photo credit to Jennifer Riley Photography
A Place to Hang the Moon
Anna, Edmund, and William aren’t terribly upset by the death of their not-so-grandmotherly grandmother. But the children do need a guardian, and in the dark days of WWII London, those are in rather short supply. Could the mass wartime evacuation be the answer? It’s a preposterous plan, but off they go, keeping their predicament a secret, hoping to be placed in a temporary home that ends up being more… forever-ish. Moving from billet to billet, the children suffer cruel foster brothers, outdoor toilets, and empty tummies. They seek comfort in the village library, whose kind librarian, Nora Muller, would make an excellent guardian, except that the whereabouts of her German husband are currently unknown. But Nora’s cottage is a place of bedtime stories, fireplaces, and tea. Most important, it’s a place where someone thinks they all three hung the moon. Which is really all that matters.
Nothing Else But Miracles
12-year-old Dory Byrne lives with her brothers on New York City’s Lower East Side, waiting impatiently through the darkest hours of World War II for her pop to come home from fighting Hitler. Legally speaking, Dory’s brother, Fish, isn’t old enough to be in charge of Dory and her younger brother, Pike, but the neighborhood knows the score and, like Pop always says, “the neighborhood will give you what you need.” There’s the lady from the bakery, who saves them leftover crullers. The kind landlord who checks in on them. And every Thursday night, the Byrnes enjoy a free bowl of seafood stew at Mr. Caputo’s restaurant. Which is where Dory learns about the hand-pulled elevator that is the only way to get to Caputo’s upper floors. The elevator that’s so creaky and ancient, nobody’s been in it for decades. Until now.
The Byrnes’ landlord dies unexpectedly and the new one is anything but kind. When he catches on about Pop being gone, he turns the Byrnes in, hoping they’ll be shipped off to an orphanage. Dory and her brothers need a hideout, and suddenly the elevator and the abandoned hotel it leads to provide just the solution they need.
Based on a very real place in old New York and steeped in the history of the last year of World War II, Nothing Else but Miracles shows how, when things get tough, the neighborhood really will give you what you need… and may even offer up a miracle or two in the process.