At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts--no home, no family, no plan. Her mother died when she was six, and her father focuses on his new girlfriend and his shoe business and has no time for his daughter. Without consulting her, he hires Iris out as a companion to a country doctor's elderly mother.
Atchison, Kansas — November 1916. Iris, age 6, is under her mother’s coffin, surrounded by the drapes that hang down the side. She is glad that her Mom is no longer coughing so hard it hurt her. Iris’ Dad yells for her, and when she comes out, he pulls her up and tells her to be polite to the visitors. That’s his only communication with her. Fast-forward ten years, and Iris’ Dad has arranged for her to go work at another home, taking care of a country doctor’s elderly mother. He is going to set up another shoe store in Kansas City with his newest girlfriend, and there’s no room for Iris in the city. The rest of the story lets us know how new people, nurturing people, can have a profound impact on us, can inspire us to help others who may be in a worse situation, and help us realize our own value. The author, Barbara Stuber, is a finalist in the William C. Morris Debut Award of the American Library Association. She spoke about her book recently to Kansas Librarians, and though it is classified as “young adult” novel, grown people in their 80’s were relating to the tale. I highly recommend this book for a joint read by parents and youth, with a good discussion to follow. Recommended by Julie.
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Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - May 24th, 2011