One of twelve siblings growing up in Depression-era Baltimore, Edith isn't quite sure of who she is. Between working at her father's diner, taking care of her younger siblings, and living in the shadow of her more mature sisters, she feels lost in a sea of siblings. When a kind teacher encourages Edith to be a teacher herself one day, Edith sees prospects for a future all her own. Full of joy, pain, humor, and sadness, this novel in verse is an enduring portrait of one family's pursuit of the American dream.
Personal Response: I liked this book. It was simply written, yet seemed forced at times (meaning the poetry and form seemed forced) but overall, it was a nice story. This was not, however, my favorite book written in verse, but I read it at the recommendation of two other librarians. The idea of this girl being "stuck" in the middle of so many siblings, and her desire of being noticed as an individual by her parents was realistic. I am only one of four children, and I sympathized with the character and understood how she felt. I was involved enough in this story to feel a connection with the various trials that she underwent, and I was very proud of her success in the end.
Curriculum Connection: I know for a fact that 4th-6th grade girls will eat this book up. They love books in verse, and there is an excellent lesson to learn about making one's self valuable in the world they live in. The emotional depth of this book will really draw readers in and the simplicity of the writing makes this accessible for almost all middle readers.