Getting Near to Baby
(Newbery Honor Book, 2000)
Reading Level: 9 - 12 years
When twelve-year-old Willa Jo climbs onto the roof at Aunt Patty's house to see the sunrise,
she never expects the conflicted feelings she's had for three weeks to crystallize into a
stubbornness that will keep her there all day. But once she's up there, Willa Jo can't seem
to come down. Coming down means having to explain herself. And how can she explain? After Baby died,
Little Sister stopped talking. Then Aunt Patty took the girls away from Mom to give her time
to pull herself together. Aunt Patty has a million rules about everything, and she seems to
have forgotten that Willa Jo and Little Sister are trying to cope with losing Baby, too.
And missing Mom something fierce. In this beautifully-structured novel--which takes place
all in one day--two generations of big sisters struggle with what being a big sister means.
Couloumbis masterfully shows us the pervasive feelings that can take hold when tragedy strikes
and the slow, subtle healing that comes when one can finally get near to the source.