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Fourteen-year-old flutist Lee Ann Graves is a survivor–she has beaten cancer. But her greatest battle is yet to come. The Carolina wren who has sung outside her window during the long weeks of chemotherapy reveals himself as Songcatcher. He knows Lee Ann’s real name is Leandra, and he transports her and her flute to a magical world that is dying because of a growing world-wide “canker.”

Leandra is restored to health and her flute transformed by what magic is left in the world. But as she searches for the source of the canker, the malignant forces take their toll, not only on the land, but on Leandra’s physical and mental well-being. With the help of Songcatcher, other bird friends, and a very human prince, Leandra must find a way to heal the land she has come to love before it is too late.

“Beautiful imagery, thoughtful message.” 

“Vivid scenes of the physical and emotional battle faced by all chemo patients, which can only be described by a cancer survivor.”


Four years after saving the magical land of Finian Jahndra, Leandra’s cancer has returned and the prognosis is grim. At Songcatcher’s request, Leandra returns to help her bird friends and Prince Aspen repel an invading army. But something is terribly wrong–her flute has no magic and her health is not restored. Despite heartbreaking losses, a series of perplexing mysteries, and the exhaustion of her advancing illness, Leandra must find a way to rally the birds and humans of Finian Jahndra to meet a much greater and deadly force before the magic dies forever.
Author note: A Carolina wren sang outside my window the spring I underwent chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005. As a music teacher, I was trying to figure out how to write the story of Mozart’s Magic Flute opera to make it accessible for children when the Carolina wren suddenly became a character by the name of Songcatcher and needed an entirely different story. 

Since cancer touches almost everyone, either from personal experience or because a loved one has battled it, I hope readers will not only share an adventure with Leandra and Songcatcher but also understand a little bit better what a cancer patient experiences, especially the roller coaster of emotions. I also hope they will want to learn more about birds, as I tried to make the characters’ personalities match each bird species.

2 Responses

  1. admin

    I feel honored to have come into contact with so many talented authors like yourself!