The Summer of Hammers and Angels

The Summer of Hammers and Angels

Shannon Wiersbitzky

Most folks have never seen an angel.
I know, because I’ve asked them.
I asked Miss Martha at the post office.
“Maybe someday, Delia, God willing.”
God does a lot of willing in Tucker’s Ferry, West Virginia.

Delia’s summer is getting off to a terrible start. First, an inspector shows up at the house and threatens to condemn it. Then lightning strikes, literally, and Mama ends up in the hospital. To make matters even worse, with no other family to speak of, Delia is forced to move in with her nemesis, Tommy “as-dense-as-a-stump” Parker.

Not one to sit around doing nothing, Delia huddles with her best friend, Mae, and reluctantly recruits Tommy, to help. The three of them resolve to tackle the long list of repairs, one by one. But Delia quickly discovers that it takes more than energy and willingness to handle some problems. When things go from bad to worse, Delia has to take another tack, one that starts with admitting she just can’t do what needs to be done without a lot more help.

The Summer of Hammers and Angels is the story of an amazing summer in a girl’s life, a summer of surprises and challenges, of shocks and recovery, of discoveries and friendship, and of loneliness and community.


  • Ages: 10 up
  • Grades: 4-8
  • Pages: 155

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Recent Reviews

Angels in the form of members of the First Congregational Church of Christ come to Delia Burns' rescue after lightning strikes her house, leaving her mother in a coma and Delia trying to do the long list of repairs left by the inspector who has condemned her home....The heartwarming conclusion is an unlikely miracle, but it is entirely in keeping with the flavor of this nostalgic story, which will leave readers hungry for fried chicken and Coke from glass bottles.

—Kirkus Reviews

Wiersbitzky explores themes of family, home, and what it means to be good neighbors in small-town Tucker's Ferry, W. Va., through the observant eyes of feisty narrator Delia….Down-to-earth life struggles combine with inspiring generosity of spirit in this uplifting debut.

—Publishers Weekly

Shannon Wiersbitzky has written a sweet coming-of-age story that will keep readers turning the pages as Delia tells the story of her incredible summer in her own strong, clear, realistic voice.

—Sacramento Book Review

This debut novel of self discovery and the power of prayer coupled with hard work is a must for everyone who loves story. It excites, stimulates, and, yes, it is also a tearjerker. A young adult book that would be a good read for adults, as well.

—Catholic Library World

Honors for The Summer of Hammers and Angels

  • 2012 recommended title, Kansas NEA Reading Circle

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