Book Review: Hannah and the Spindle Whorl

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Cam shows us copies of Hannah and the Spindle Whorl

Hannah and the Spindle Whorl By Carol Anne Shaw Ronsdale Press, 2010

Set in Cowichan Bay, Hannah and the Spindle Whorl is the story of a girl named Hannah who stumbles upon an ancient Salish spindle whorl in the woods close to her home. She soon embarks on an adventure of discovery as she learns the true origins of the spindle whorl and the people who lived in the area hundreds of years before. The reader is quickly enamoured with young Hannah's positive and quirky outlook as she lives her everyday life on a houseboat with her widower father. It is evident that she loves where she lives and we get to share her enthusiasm for life even as we see her obvious lingering sorrow over the loss of her Mother.

Through the influence of the spindle whorl and a magical raven Hannah travels back in time where she befriends a young Salish girl named Yisella. Trapped in their time, Hannah is immersed in the native community of Tl'ulpalus where her friendship with Yisella takes on new significance when Yisella's mother becomes fatally ill. In supporting her new friend she must face her own grief at the same time.

In the midst of this, her peaceful existence with the people of Tl'ulpalus is thrown into upheaval with the arrival of the HMS Hecate and the settlers on board. Left behind by the people of Tl'ulpalas and alone, Yisella and Hannah must save the spindle whorl and get Hannah back to her own time. If that weren't enough, there are rumours of a Bigfoot in the forest.

Carol Anne Shaw tells a thoroughly enjoyable tale. Her characters are rich and original, and they allow us to be swept along in an engaging fantastical tale spanning 150 years. Young readers will love Hannah, and they just might learn something along the way.


I am a mom and I'm currently homeschooling my 9 year-old daughter. We -just- finished reading this book. It was a GREAT read, that kept us engaged and always wondering what was going to happen next. In terms of an 'insta' education on Coast Salish culture and history ... we got it all in a nutshell! Carol's references to the raven Jack, and Poos the kitten helped 'connect' us to our world, too ... since my daughter loves animals and birds. 
I have been recommending this book to my other homelearner friends, and can't say enough great things about it. 
Thank you, Carol Anne! I hope that we can take a trip out to Cowichan Bay to really bring the story to life.

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