The Secret Library of Hummingbird House

Julianne Negri

The Secret Library of Hummingbird House
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The Secret Library of Hummingbird House

Julianne Negri

Hattie Maxwell is trying to make sense of her life since the Big Split. It used to be the four of them - Mum, Dad, Ivy and Hattie - against the universe. But lately it feels like she’s a lone star in a big galaxy. Her one escape is Hummingbird House, an old mansion with a giant mulberry tree just perfect for climbing to hide from the world.

So when Hattie learns that the house is going to be demolished, she is determined to save it. A midnight visit becomes a step back in time, and Hummingbird House reveals its secrets: a hidden library, a mysterious new friend, and a lost treasure that could help stop the development. Can the past help Hattie to fix her present

A brilliant time-slip novel with a contemporary twist, The Secret Library of Hummingbird House celebrates standing up, speaking out and letting go of the past.


An abandoned mansion slated for destruction, an ancient mulberry tree that holds important memories, and a family still working out the terms of parental separation. These are the ingredients in Julianne Negri’s debut novel for middle fiction readers about Hattie Maxwell, whose world has been uprooted and who is determined to fight for the house and tree she loves.

Aided by a full moon, she manages to time-slip into the 1970s at Hummingbird House, and there she meets a girl who loves lost words. Their friendship helps both of them negotiate a difficult time in their lives and may even rescue the mansion from the hands of nefarious developers. Set in the streets of Brunswick, there is also a mysterious yarn bomber leaving knitted signs around town and an eccentric younger sister. Reminiscent of Playing Beatie Bow, this is a charming novel that will be enjoyed by readers aged 10+.

Angela Crocombe is the manager of Readings Kids.

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