Back to the Bright Before
Back to the Bright Before
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A magical adventure about two brave siblings determined to find a treasure that could save their family.

When eleven-year-old Pet Martin’s dad falls from a ladder on their family farm, it isn’t just his body that crashes to the ground. So does every hope her family had for the future. Money is scarce, and Pet’s mom is bone-tired from waiting tables at the local diner, and even with the extra hours, it’s not enough for a third surgery for Pet’s dad. Her five-year-old brother, Simon, now refuses to say anything except the word “cheese.” Worst of all? The ladder accident was Pet’s fault.

She’s determined to fix things—but how? Good old-fashioned grit . . . and maybe a little bit of magic. 

When a neighbor recites a poem about an ancient coin hidden somewhere on the grounds of the local abbey, Pet forms a plan. With her brother, a borrowed chicken, and a stolen pony, Pet runs away from home. If she can find the coin, Daddy can have his surgery, Momma can stop her constant working, and Simon might speak again. But Pet isn’t the only one who wants the coin…which means searching for it is more dangerous than she ever imagined. 

Book Details


  • Adventure
  • Fiction

Age Level: 

  • 8 - 12
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Back to the Bright Before by Katherine Nolte is a smooth and poignant children’s adventure story that features the journey of Perpetua or Pet and her little brother Simon. Although Pet’s family has never been rich, things go well until one day an accident casts a dark shadow over their lives. Pet’s dad, the breadwinner of the family, breaks his arm, and Pet holds herself responsible for the misfortune.

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Pet is a great older sister and an obedient daughter who loves her close-knit family, but the minute she gets a camera from her grandmother her family's life suddenly changes, and not for the better. When her father falls from a ladder and is seriously injured after Pet asks him to smile for a photo, he becomes hopeless and the family fears his injuries will prevent him from ever working at his trade  again. Pet's father is a woodcarver and without the ability to carve his art that leaves Pet's mother to work double shifts at the local diner to try to feed the family.

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