Drawing with Whitman
Drawing with Whitman

Catalynd Jewett Hamilton has always lived a peaceful life with her family on their old farmstead at the top of Sourland Mountain in New Jersey. But after she and her mother get in a bad car accident, Cat ends up in a wheelchair with two broken legs and her mom begins to suffer from depression. With her older brother leaving for college, Cat has to take charge and guide her family back to happiness.

Luckily for Cat, a new friend named Benton Whitman arrives just in time to help. Benton is a painter who moves into the studio-barn on the Hamilton property and teaches Cat about art. He encourages her to express herself through creative outlets like painting. During their lessons, Cat also learns that Benton is descended from Walt Whitman, a writer who becomes a figure of inspiration for Cat as she works on an important art report for school.

While discovering art and literature, Cat finds inner strength to face her family's struggles, encouraging her mom to seek help for her depression as she aims to build a better life. Drawing with Whitman is a novel for middle grade readers that tackles the tough subjects--and offers rays of brightly colored light.

Book Details


  • Fiction

Age Level: 

  • 8 - 12

Set in New Jersey, Drawing with Whitman is about a girl named Catalynd—“Cat”—who breaks both legs in a car accident. The car accident occurs during a storm, when her mom loses control of the car and hits a tree. Her mom feels very depressed after the car accident, and Cat tries to help her and understand her depression. While all of this is happening, Cat's oldest brother, Buddy, is leaving for college in Florida. Cat is not excited to see him go, because the two have a very close relationship.

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