Elizabeth Dulemba grew up in the Atlanta area, but lived in the early 2000s in rural Georgia, just south of Tennessee’s Copper Basin. This is where, from the 1840s until the 1980s, copper was mined. For decades sulfuric acid, a by-product of copper smelting, was released into the air killing all vegetation in a fifty square mile area, one of the world’s most dramatic evidences of environmental devastation. Dulemba interviewed Copper Basin old-timers, including Grace Postelle who told her the story of Helen McKay who witnessed the unusual sight of a bird on Water Street in Copperhill in the 1920s. That gave her the title - A Bird on Water Street - for this youth novel featuring 13-year-old Jack Hicks, which condenses much of the history of the Copper Basin, including a union strike, into a one-year time frame. "Dulemba expertly weaves the strands of Coppertown's environmental, economic, and personal relationships and gives a life-affirming portrait of a Southern Appalachian town needing and ready for new life. Jack's story is set in the late 1980s, but could replicate the experience of countless miners' children in this country and the world, in the past century and the present." - Anne Broyles. "Elizabeth Dulemba seamlessly melds a coming-of-age story to the reality of life in a single-industry town. This is a book that sings." - School Library Journal. When first published in hardback in 2014 this youth novel garnered fourteen awards. Elizabeth Dulemba is a professor of illustration at Winthrop University and teaches writing in the summer at Hollins University. She has won awards for illustrating and for writing over three-dozen books.
Napierville, Illinois: Little Pickle Books/Sourcebooks, a 2019 reprint of a 2014 release. 310 pages illustrated by the author with five additional essays, including Questions for Discussion at the end. Trade paperback.