Barry WolvertonAuthor of Neversink and The Chronicles of the Black Tulip trilogy: The Vanishing Island; The Dragon’s Gate; and The Sea of the Dead, all from HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press.
I have been writing for children for 20 years, helping create books, documentary television, and online content for Discovery Networks, National Geographic, the Library of Congress, Scholastic, and Time-Life Books, among others. Inspired by authors such as Lewis Carroll and Mark Twain, as well as folk tales and mythology from around the world, I love to combine wordplay and humor with dramatic plots to create rich narrative worlds for readers.
My debut novel, NEVERSINK, was named the Children’s Book of Choice by Literacy Mid-South for their Read Across America program in 2014.
Wolverton debuts with a whimsical fantasy that does for Arctic waterfowl what the Redwall series did for woodland creatures. The author is a natural storyteller, giving readers a charmingly wry, offbeat tale that draws on mythology and intersperses a good amount of information about Arctic wildlife amid the story’s humor. (Publishers Weekly)
With history and myths reminiscent of Norse sagas, Neversink and its feathered denizens impart lessons in power, leadership and the role of “stories” in the guise of a fantasy adventure. An unexpected hero and his amusing, devoted helpers entertain and inspire. (Kirkus Reviews)
[NEVERSINK] reads with the epic ambition of Watership Down, but with laughs. Debut author Wolverton uses humor to keep some of the weightier topics in reach of young readers, and the mythos he has created is both logical and lovely (the story of the goddess Sedna being a particular example). An intelligent, entertaining fantasy with snappy dialogue and well-developed characters, all designed to keep readers engaged to the final, satisfying page. (Booklist)
[NEVERSINK] is a story described by the publisher as an epic and funny tale of survival, friendship, and fish. Neversink is much more than that. As one becomes absorbed in the struggle of the auks to retain their independence, themes of manipulation, domination, loyalty, and personal courage also surface. Although the novel is intended for middle readers, these underlying, more sophisticated themes also make Neversink an appropriate book for struggling adolescent readers. (Maria Lamattina, EdD, Children's Literature Reviews)
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this book a 100! It's one of the best books I've ever read. (Ella, 10, Fresh Ink Blog)
Read more about, and purchase Neversink.
Teachers, download the Audubon/Project Puffin-approved Teaching Guide under Extras!
The Vanishing Island
In the first book of Wolverton's fantasy trilogy, the hero embarks on a gripping high-seas adventure packed with action, magic, and folklore spanning East and West. Fast-paced and entertaining, this fine opener will keep both fantasy and historical-fiction buffs turning the pages. (Kirkus Reviews)
This engaging historical narrative will draw readers in who love stories of adventure and exploration with a strong dose of fantasy. The alternate history angle includes both the grossly realistic details of sailing and living in the Age of Discovery with the dark supernatural creepiness of ancient magic and folk tales. The cliff-hanger ending guarantees that Bren's journey doesn't end with this first book. (School Library Journal)
Wolverton’s (Neversink) story speeds along suspensefully through a history intriguingly different from our own. The privations and hazards of sea travel are thoroughly depicted (as is the unpleasant reality of Bren’s work in a vomitorium), and the occasional moment of magic is gracefully understated. (Publishers Weekly)
Read more about, and purchase The Vanishing Island.
Download The Vanishing Island Activity Kit (PDF).
The Dragon's Gate
"In his signature style, Wolverton cleverly overlays intricate plotting with ancient Chinese legends and history (including the Dragon Boat Festival and the Terracotta Warriors) and creates a thrilling, fast-paced story that flies by. Fans will wait with bated breath for the third book in the trilogy." -- Kirkus (**Starred Review**)
"More mystical artifacts, wild things, and mysteries more puzzling than ever. This second installment picks up right where The Vanishing Island left off, and fills in enough blanks to remind readers of Bren's last perilous adventure. Pick this up to keep readers on the hook for the upcoming third book." -- Booklist
Read more about, and purchase The Dragon's Gate.
Read more about, and purchase The Sea of the Dead.
The Sea of the Dead
An engrossing fantasy, a high-seas adventure, an alternate history epic—this is the richly imagined and gorgeously realized third book in acclaimed author Barry Wolverton’s Chronicles of the Black Tulip, perfect for fans of The Glass Sentence and the Books of Beginning series.
After the harrowing and life-changing events at the Dragon’s Gate, Bren wants nothing more than to make his way back to England. Finding the answers to the great mysteries he’d been chasing only found him questioning why he’d ever pursued them in the first place, and now he’s lost his best friend, forever. There’s nothing left for him but to return home and hope his father hasn’t given up on him.
But just because Bren is done with adventure does not mean adventure is done with him. On his way to escape from China, Bren is gifted a rare artifact, with a connection to a place no one has set foot upon. Soon he’s fallen in with a mysterious Indian noblewoman bent on discovering an ancient power and leading her country against colonial rule.
Read more about, and purchase The Sea of the Dead.
Mitchell Guyer, a fan in Anchorage, Alaska, sent me two amazing drawings he did inspired by Neversink. Check them out here!
Mrs. Dell's 5th grade poetry class wrote poems inspired by Neversink. Check them out here.
I have a new three-book deal! And the best part is, I get to keep working with Jordan Brown and Walden Pond Press. Look for the first book in THE VANISHING ISLAND trilogy in early 2015.
More puffin love from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist!
Lovely review from Teach Mentor Texts, a blog devoted to child literacy and reading. Great ideas on using NEVERSINK in the classroom.
How many fiction writers get excited about a review from a birding journal? Well if you write about puffins and tried to keep it real, you do. Check out the American Birding Association's review.
NEVERSINK is a selection of the Children's Book Council's Early Career Committee! I'm pretty excited to be among some of the great authors they've picked.
The first official review of NEVERSINK comes from — wait for it — Tasmania! Young Aussie blogger Romi Foster wrote me back in the Spring asking if she could review the book, and courtesy of Walden Pond Press, Lockley made the long flight down under. Fortunately, it was worth it! Read Romi's review.
Email Barry at
Represented by Jennifer Rofé
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Thank you for your interest!