Tommy Hays, author

From critically acclaimed author Tommy Hays
comes a vibrant story of love and loss

Now in Paperback!

By Tommy Hays

“Tommy Hays tells a story that rips open your heart. This is a novel about what it means to face loss at an early age, and how salvation comes through both the creation of art and acts of every day kindness. I loved this book.”
—Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s

With a starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and The Bulletin as well as rave reviews coming in from industry veterans, What I Came to Tell You (paperback, September 2014, Egmont USA), was one of the most highly acclaimed books of 2013. An established writer of adult fiction, Tommy Hays’s children’s book debut was chosen as a Fall 2013 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) as one of the books booksellers are most eager to sell and was nominated for a SIBA Book Award. It was also selected for the American Booksellers Association’s 2014 ABC Best Books for Children Catalog.

Now available in paperback, What I Came to Tell You is sure to reach even more hearts and minds as author Tommy Hays continues to travel to book festivals, bookstores, and schools around the country.

Since his mother’s death, Grover has been having a hard time. The only thing that gives him solace is the hours he spends working on his art in the beloved bamboo grove near his Asheville home. His overworked father belittles his efforts; he feels his son is wasting his time and throwing his life away.

As tensions within and without the family build to a boiling point, help tiptoes its way into their lives. A mountain family has moved into the cheap rental nearby, and slowly they work their way into Grover’s forest—and his heart. A prickly and independent neighbor proves to be a stalwart pillar to Grover and his little sister. Even the peculiar young man who always lurks around them plays a role in lifting Grover and his family from their paralyzing grief. Finally, it’s Grover’s own unwavering dedication to his art that brings results that neither he nor his family see coming.

Poignant and touching, but with bite, What I Came to Tell You introduces a great talent to children’s books.

“Hays is especially strong at depicting the network of people, old and young, who help Grover and his family move through their grief and, along the way, save his beloved forest.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Hays is a gifted storyteller, offering up an effective balance of credible emotion, understated wisdom, and gentle humor.”—The Bulletin, starred review

“Just as Grover spends every spare moment in the Bamboo Forest weaving lovely tapestries from natural materials, Hays spins a heartfelt tale in which all the key elements blend beautifully, from memorable characters to the strong sense of a specific Southern place.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Once in a great while, a novel comes along that resonates warmly with the depth and breadth of human experience. That such a novel is written for children is not a surprise or a waste, but rather a gentle reminder that children’s literature is not infantile, nor are the thoughts and feelings of children to be trivialized.”—Asheville Citizen-Times

About the Author:

Tommy Hays is the Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and Lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts program at UNC Asheville. He teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Murray State University. His novel, The Pleasure Was Mine, was a Finalist for the SIBA Fiction Award in 2006, and has been chosen for numerous community reads, including the One City, One Book program in Greensboro and the Amazing Read in Greenville, SC. The novel was read on National Public Radio’s “Radio Reader” and South Carolina ETVRadio’s “Southern Read”. His other novels are Sam’s Crossing, which has been recently re-released, and In the Family Way, winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, he received his BA in English from Furman University and graduated from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He lives in Asheville with his wife, Connie, and their two children, Max and Ruth.

What I Came To Tell You
Egmont USA
September 2014
ISBN: 9781606845455
$8.99 (paperback)
Ages 10 and up
Already available in hardcover and ebook:
ISBN: 9781606844335 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781606844342 (ebook)