Welcome to the home of The Heart of Applebutter Hill, an adventure-mystery for general audiences by journalist and recording artist Donna W. Hill. It features a working dog, a stray kitty and excursions into fantasy. “Follow” The Heart of Applebutter Hill below and get Donna’s posts in your In Box.
Book Reviews: The Heart of Applebutter Hill
Word Gathering Magazine
“Book Review: The Heart of Applebutter Hill (Donna Hill)” – Kristen Witucki
With a suspenseful adventure, multi-faceted human and animal protagonists, and compelling secondary characters, the novel holds a lot of promise for either solitary enjoyment or lively student group discussions. And best of all, disability is there, but it’s not necessarily a preoccupation.
“The Heart of Applebutter Hill by Donna W. Hill Reviewed by Jacqueline Williams”
Donna Hill’s depiction of blindness is beautiful and true. She conveys the reality that gradual vision loss is a fluid, ever-changing condition, running a gauntlet that few can imagine until it happens to them. … I highly recommend this book to middle-school students, teachers, media center directors, and teachers in special reading programs.
“Blind Author Inspires Others with Her Vision” – Julie Sidoni
“It’s really unique to have a character that’s diverse, and that’s something I look forward to in a book, and that’s what this book has.” Lackawanna Trail High senior Austin Pringle.
Wyoming County Press Examiner
“Meshoppen author pens mystery novel” – Michael Wintermute.
In a way, the tale acts as an all-encompassing guide to childhood, as it details the struggles of bullying, consumerism and being cast from society.
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
“The biggest project of my life” – MARY THERESE BIEBEL.
In the book, Abigail fights discrimination from sighted people, from the school newspaper adviser who rejects her application to the man who pulls up alongside her in a car and yells because her dog just answered the call of nature.
Purchase The Heart of Applebutter Hill & Help Blind Students
Did you know that people with vision loss and other print disabilities can access only 5% of books and magazines? Imagine trying to compete in school, college or the job market with only 5% of the resources your peers have. That’s why proceeds from the sale of The Heart of Applebutter Hill go into a fund to produce a hard copy Braille version for blind and deaf-blind students.
eBook versions can be purchased at these and other outlets
eBook Universe: http://www.philipsmith.eu/indie-author/donna-w-hill
Nook Book: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-heart-of-applebutter-hill-donna-w-hill/1115426305?ean=2940016415000&itm=1&usri=2940016415000
Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-heart-of-applebutter-hill/id651693834?mt=11
Smashwords (7 eBook formats, including .epub, .mobi, .pdf and .rtf): http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/313071?ref=DonnaWHill
Outside the US
Amazon Canada (print & Kindle): http://www.amazon.ca/The-Heart-Applebutter-Hill-ebook/dp/B00CNG6DDM
Amazon UK (print& Kindle) http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Heart-Applebutter-Hill-Donna-ebook/dp/B00CNG6DDM/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1
Meet the Author
Invite Donna W. Hill to be a guest speaker for workshops, seminars and classes. Topics include guide dogs, writing, self-publishing, songwriting, anti-bullying, accessibility and mainstreaming students with visual impairments. Use the “Contact the Author” link on this page.
Resources for Educators
Download Reference Letters About Donna’s Presentations
This 48-page PDF contains a sampling of the reference letters written about Donna’s programs over her thirty-year career. File size: 21 mb.
Reference Letters for Donna W. Hills Presentations (21mb, PDF)
Recommendations from Professionals
The Heart of Applebutter Hill has received recommendations from professionals in education, rehabilitation and the arts, as a valuable tool for middle through college-level diversity, anti-bullying and inclusion initiatives. Their comments are at: https://donnawhill.com/recommenders-of-the-heart-of-applebutter-hill-from-professionals-in-education-rehabilitation-the-arts/
Intro for Educators
Read the “Introduction to The Heart of Applebutter Hill for Educators” by Dr. Karen Squier, O.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Southern College of Optometry (Memphis, Tennessee ) at:https://donnawhill.com/intro-to-the-heart-of-applebutter-hill-for-educators/
WonderBaby.org (Perkins School for the Blind)
“New Book for Young Adults Features a Main Character who is Blind” – Amber Bobnar.
Donna W. Hill’s young adult novel, The Heart of Applebutter Hill, is a story of adventure and mystery… and a little bit of magic. The book follows Abigail and her best friends Curly Connor and Baggy Brichaz. Abigail is a smart, talented girl in a mainstream school… who just happens to be visually impaired. And Curly Conner? That’s her guide dog!
Abigail’s visual impairment is presented as just one more part of her multifaceted personality. It isn’t ignored, but it isn’t the focus of her life either.
Accessible Versions for Readers with Print Disabilities
Learning Ally: the world’s largest provider of volunteer-narrated audio textbooks and literature for people Who Read & Learn Differently
JPeg of the article “Meshoppen Author’s Novel Goes Audio” published by the WyoPress Examiner (Tunkhannock, PA, 9/23/15), announces Learning Ally’s publication of a human-narrated version for readers with print disabilities.
Learning Ally now carries The Heart of Applebutter Hill. In the VOICEtext format, highlighted synchronized text accompanies the human narration. Listen and follow the printed word at the same time! http://www.learningally.org/BookDetails.aspx?BookID=KV589
Bookshare: an Accessible Online Library for Readers with Print Disabilities
Digital DAISY text, audio & refreshable Braille versions of The Heart of Applebutter Hill are available at: http://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/639304
The Heart of Applebutter Hill: the Story
Imagine you’re 14 and in a strange country with your camera, your best friend, her guitar and her guide dog. You uncover a secret and are instantly in danger. Join Baggy, Abigail and Curly Connor as they explore Elfin Pond, sneak around Bar Gundoom Castle and row across an underground lake. The powerful Heartstone of Arden-Goth is hidden nearby, and corporate giants unleash a spy to seize it. Compelled to unmask the spy and protect the Heartstone, they can’t trust anyone.
As summer heats up, their troubled friend Christopher is viciously bullied and an armed stranger terrorizes Abigail and Baggy. The friends disagree about the spy’s identity, but are convinced it’s a teacher. When a desperate Christopher shows up one night with the school cat, the truth is revealed.
Comments from Readers
Amazon Customer Reviews
“This very real depiction of a blind heroine in a can’t-put-down young adult fiction style is a must-read. I found myself reflecting on what it would be like to travel in the “Cloud Scooper” for days afterwards. Along with fun travel ideas, this book raises very real issues surrounding a blind student frequenting a mainstream school classroom. I’d love this to be compulsory reading for young people at school.” – Jordina Howell (Melbourne, Victoria Australia)
“The proof is in the pudding, but in this case, the Applebutter. I saw this book occupy a 12 year old for an entire weekend with no electronic media involved. That is saying something good!
Then I read it myself. Good characters…good take on bullying and blindness. Hope there will be a sequel!” – Patricia Girven
“The Heart of Applebutter Hill” has a rare quality seldom found in YA books: it masterfully balances the wondrous and whimsical with the very real social challenges that young people face today. Though set in a mythical locale, the characters, descriptions and conflicts, never stray too far from our own world. This allows just enough familiarity that readers will easily find sympathetic, as well as empathetic feelings in their Applebutter Hill experience. Tackling everything from environmental consciousness and social etiquette to bullying and blindness, Donna W. Hill skillfully maneuvers between tough topics, adding liberal amounts of humor and light-heartedness, and keeps the story as buoyant as the book’s magical air ship; the Cloud Scooper.
Entertaining and educational, witty and full of wisdom, “The Heart of Applebutter Hill” is sure to delight while it delivers its many important messages. I recommend this book to parents and educators who are searching for material that will provide a bridge to open communication with young people about some of today’s most sensitive social subjects. Adults will find as much pleasure in the pages as children will, and a book like this is a beautiful gift to share.” Amy Krout-Horn
Read these and other reviews of The Heart of Applebutter Hill at: http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/1483948226
Reader Comments on DonnaWHill.com
“I was lucky enough to receive an email out of the blue about this book. It was a great adventure story with likable, well-rounded characters with lots of different abilities and struggles — many of which kids rarely get to read about! My favorite was Curly Connor, not many writers write dogs this well!
I’m excited to share this vision of what school can be also. What great classes. As a math teacher I wanted to learn more about the math in Survival 101. I am going to recommend this book to librarians and teachers I encounter.
Please, please write a sequel! I know it’s okay to be left wondering but I really want to read more about the characters and their adventures and there’s a lot left to keep writing about!” – Max Ray, 10/22/13
Accessibility Issues on WordPress
Screen reader users, If you have trouble with Word Press’s comment form (labeled on this site “So, What Do You Think?”) Here’s an alternative. Every page and post has a link labeled “Accessible Comment Form for Screen Reader Users.” It will be sent to me, and I will post it on your behalf. Check it out at: https://donnawhill.com/accessible-comment-form-for-screen-reader-users-3