The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden


This morning, I woke up on the ceiling …

So begins the strange story of Gwendolyn Golden. One perfectly ordinary day for no apparent reason, she wakes up floating around her room like one of her little brother’s Batman balloons.

Puberty is weird enough. Everyone already thinks she’s an oddball with anger issues because her father vanished in a mysterious storm one night when she was six. Then there are the mean, false rumours people are spreading about her at school. On top of all that, now she’s a flying freak.

How can she tell her best friend or her mother? How can she live her life? After Gwendolyn almost meets disaster flying too high and too fast one night, help arrives from the most unexpected place. And stranger still? She’s not alone.


Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom selection
Dewey Divas and the Dudes Fall Picks
Canlit for Kids
Red Maple Award
Supplementary Downloads


The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden is an engaging realistic fantasy. It would be wonderful to read aloud to children; it may be a valuable suggestion for children dealing with loss, and it is great for middle graders who love stories with a little magic, a modern setting and which are a quick read.

Canadian Materials

This lively, fast-paced novel by Philippa Dowding (author of the Lost Gargoyle series) moves fluidly from the whimsical to the fantastical and takes an intriguing detour to some dark places in between.

Quill & Quire

. . . a positive story about dealing with loss, being a young teenager, and growing up that will appeal to a wide audience.

Resource Links

Told with wit and intelligence, The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden is an entertaining, fast-paced novel that deals with very real situations, such as loss, change, and emotional struggles. At times whimsical and fantastical, this story addresses down-to-earth issues with the maturity and strength of character that would inspire any young reader who is facing the journey toward adulthood.

Waterloo Record

Dowding’s novel … will appeal to tweens who enjoy realism touched with magic.

Canadian Children’s Book News

About the Author

Philippa Dowding

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
Philippa Dowding photo

Philippa Dowding

Philippa Dowding is an award-winning children’s author, a poet, musician and a copywriter. Her many literary nominations include the Silver Birch Express, Red Cedar, and Red Maple awards. She lives in Toronto.