On Snowden Mountain

Jeri Watts. Candlewick, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9744-0
After 12-year-old Ellen’s father leaves to fight in WWII, her mother falls into her deepest depression yet, forcing Ellen to contact her dreaded aunt Pearl. Pearl, her mother’s sister, insists that the family leave Baltimore for her home in Snowden Mountain, Va., where the sisters grew up. There, Ellen, who is accustomed to electricity and fashionable clothes, is faced with an outhouse, oil lamps, and a one-room schoolhouse. At school, Ellen encounters Russell, an outcast who is grade levels behind and smells of skunk. Although she initially looks down on him, and much else about Snowden, Ellen learns that trapping skunks is how Russell supports his family, and when she visits his home to deliver food from the church, she sees how Russell’s father abuses and terrorizes his family. As a friendship grows, Ellen begins to feel that Russell understands her fear that she too will suffer depression, and Russell’s confidence rises when Ellen helps him with his studies. Through a realistically complex character whose growth is organic and well-wrought, Watts (A Piece of Home) offers an unsparing look at the impact of depression, as well as the ways that human connection can change lives. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/20/2019
Release date: 09/10/2019
Genre: Children's
MP3 CD - 978-1-9786-6559-0
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