Getting Near to Baby
(Newbery Honor Book, 2000)

Audrey Couloumbis

Synopsis

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.

 

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