First, a big thank you to @notforlunch for coming up with the brilliant #nerdDell hashtag!
Number one on the #nerdDell list is Michael Dorris‘ Morning Girl. In a mere 74 pages, Dorris immerses us into the lives of twelve-year-old Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy. Theirs is the timeless tale of growing up: they juggle sibling rivalries, family expectations and community values. The book flew by, and I was so engrossed that I didn’t register the vagueness of the setting—there are no dates or place names until the very end, when everything becomes terribly, terribly clear. The revelation left me with chills. I can’t say anything more without spoiling it, and if you’re thinking of reading Morning Girl for the first time, I recommend plunging in without reading any synopsis or summary. The less you know, the better.
I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the book isn’t exactly happy. Looking ahead, I can tell it’s going to be a trend. There’s a big cluster of O’Dell winners set during the Civil War era and another clump from World War II (only Dead End in Norvelt promises humor, though I’d love to be proven wrong). I’ll probably need a new Most Depressing Children’s Books list by the time I’m done.
For next time: The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare.