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“This achingly realistic and timely novel explores what happens when a family can't make ends meet. A fresh and original character, Harper Lee Morgan, keeps writing poems and taking care of her little brother while Mama works. This is a lovely story, guaranteed to evoke both smiles and tears.”
— Joanne R. Fritz, Chester County Book & Music Company, West Chester, PA
Harper is an aspiring poet, and life is giving her a lot to write about just now. Daddy up and walked out, leaving them with too many bills, too little money, and an eviction notice. Now Mama is scrambling to make ends meet, leaving Harper to stay home and take care of her brother. Their whole world has been turned upside down, which Harper could just about handle--if it wasn't for the poetry contest at school. More than anything, she wants to get up on that stage and read her poems out loud. But how can she worry about getting back to school when she doesn't even know where she's going to sleep tonight?
“First-time novelist Leal creates complex characters from various walks of life. . . . The cards are stacked against Harper and her family, but it is inspiring to watch her find success with a pen, paper and a little hope.”—Publishers Weekly
“Memorable characterizations fill the book with realistic individuals whom readers will root for and celebrate with when their lives finally begin to improve.”—School Library Journal
“First-time novelist Leal takes a narrative with familiar elements . . . and elevates it with her characters, who . . . are sharply and sympathetically drawn. One of the highlights is Harper’s poetry, interspersed throughout the book . . . they are written in a clear and natural way that will speak to readers and make them think.”—Booklist
“The likable characters, their misfortunes and especially their self-reliance will keep readers . . . enthralled. A poignant debut.”—Kirkus Reviews
“From Harper to Winnie Rae Early, the characters are memorable as are the descriptive passages…This book is rich with discussion opportunity for middle grade students.”—VOYA
“Anne Haywood Leal is a wonderful writer with an enormous heart, and a voice that is distinctive and wrenching and wise. I loved this book, and the feisty young girl known as Harper. I believe you will, too.”—Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Lily’s Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods