I'm going to be the person you always saw in me.
Middle-Grade Novel Picks:
This is what you do when you are twelve, your pillar-of-support grandpa dies, and your mother still clings on to the hope of your gambler-father coming back to get you two:
This is what you do when a puppy that's on its way to the pound is thrust in your arms, when you don't have any money to feed or care for it; what you do when you lose your house and are forced to leave school and the town you've always known; what you do when your favourite teacher tells you you have great potential, and you have to leave him, too:
This is what you do:
You hang on till you break.
You try your hardest to survive. You read Grandpa's unpublished manuscript to stay strong (You take in The-Good-that's-Left-in-Your-World). You write to your favourite teacher (You let out The-Honesty-that's-Also-Left).
Twelve-year-old Sugar Mae Cole has gifts. She hangs on. She tries to survive, and she tries to stay sweet and grateful (because of what her mother used to teach her, and because of her name). She speaks to Shush, her rescue dog, and it listens. She writes and her teacher listens. The only person who doesn't seem to be listening is her mother, Reba. Nothing gets through to Reba after they leave the shelter for Chicago. Not anymore. Well, except for that stupid hope of Sugar's father returning for them ...
Can Sugar let go of Reba, like how Reba has let go of them? Can Sugar hold onto Reba and pull her back, even if where they are doesn't seem that well either?
Lessons and lessons to learn about being homeless, about being in other folks' homes, about belonging and cutting off, about repainting the doors to your new place fresh coats of colours that declare to the world who you really are.
This is the second Joan Bauer novel I've read. The first was Close to Famous, and since that was set surrounded by muffins and cupcakes, I gained weight reading it. For Almost Home, I re-affirmed my love with colours and honest verses. The quote at the beginning of this post jumped straight at me from its page. And it has become one of my absolute favourites these days.
If I were to paint my door, I'd pick a brilliant, bold sea-blue. What about you?
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Hey, I'm Claudine. Welcome!
Want to know what children's stories can inspire & lead to?
by Kate Hanney
Really enjoyed the honest voice of this narrator ~ a teenager let down by his mother and the foster care system, and almost-picked up through his involvement with a gang.