Annie can always count on spending summers at her grandparents’. This summer should be even better because Mama is going to have a baby soon. Before Daddy leaves for his Air Force assignment, he gives Annie a journal for summer memories.
But now Annie is grieving over the death of her newborn sister. How can she tell Daddy that ever since the baby died, Mama is slipping away? If Annie wrote those words, Mama might stay that way forever. The only comfort Annie finds is in holding a stone she calls her “rock baby.”
Then Annie secretly befriends a mysterious woman who helps Annie accept her loss, while Annie hopes to draw her new friend back into the community. But all that is interrupted when a crisis reveals their unlikely alliance and leads to a surprising turn of events.
This was a book I hadn't heard of until it was assigned to me by my MFA program this semester. First of all, I don't read a lot of middle grade. And when I do, it's not historical. So this is one I knew nothing about, and I would have never picked it up on my own. Yay for school for introducing me to great little books I would have never read otherwise!
This book takes places in the early 60s in the mountains of North Carolina, and it's a quiet little story of family, loss, and grief. By the end of this book I had tears in my eyes over the development of the relationship between Annie and her mom and Annie and her mysterious neighbor. What I really liked about this book was the reminder that kids of this age don't need to be shielded from the bad things as much as we think they do - it's a good time machine trip back to that age so we adults can remember that kids can (and want to) handle the tough stuff.
There's lots of lovely language here, too. A perfect amount of dialect to set the scene, and some really beautiful descriptions of the setting as well as some of the hobbies that pop up throughout the story. This book was a sweet little treat, a nice something different from what I'm used to reading. Fans of historical MG, you really want to check this one out.
Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...
Lenore Appelhans wonders at ALL YOU NEVER WANTED by Adele Griffin
Shari Arnold loves SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller
Tracy Banghart embraces IMPOSTOR by Susanne Winnacker
Shelli Johannes-Wells delights in Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER and HOMELAND
Nikki Katz gets the shivers for 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
Stasia Ward Kehoe, Carolina Valdez Miller & Debra Driza sing out for the cover of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO
Katy Upperman celebrates THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay – with giveaway!