Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Maria D. Laso
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Life for Possum Porter just hasn’t been the same since Mama and Baby died. Just when she thinks she’s got everything under control, a new schoolteacher comes into town and her father decides that she ought to go to school. Possum is determined to show the teacher that she’s already learned everything and go back home, but everything seems to go wrong. At school she’s tortured by Mary Grace Newcomb, who seems to be stealing her best friend, while at home her daddy seems distant and lost, and she thinks the new teacher is fixing to court him. She manages to keep her best friend, while gaining the friendship of Mary Grace as well, and finds a way to get her daddy back. Maybe there is more to learn after all…
This book is so powerful! It’s written in first person, so the narrative is close and personal to the reader. The dialogue and language used reflects the era that it is set in, adding to the setting and the overall feel of the story. The story itself takes the reader on a journey of overcoming grief and resistance to change after Possum’s mother died. For children who have lost a parent or a sibling, this story empathizes with their situation and gives hope that it is possible to move on. Life can be hard and messy, but through strengthening relationships and learning to support and help one another, it is much more doable. This story of love and loss is sure to touch the heart and serve as a reminder that maybe we all have a bit more learning to do.