cover image Jubilee


Patricia Reilly Giff, illus. by Sara Hokanson. Random/Lamb, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-385-74486-7

This slender novel about a silent child speaks loudly to the healing power of relationships, both human and canine. “Everything is right around the corner, Judith. You just have to make it happen.” These encouraging words present a particular challenge to Judith Ann Magennis, a fifth grader who hasn’t spoken since her mother abandoned her years earlier. “Something had to be crazy about a girl who talked to a mirror instead of people, a girl whose mother took off and left her,” Judith tells herself. Raised by her loving Aunt Cora on an island off Maine (and nicknamed Jubilee because, “You’re a celebration!”), Judith wants desperately to feel normal in her mainstreamed classroom; instead, she is hurt as peers cast her aside in misunderstanding. Can a dog and an unlikely new friend, both castoffs in their own ways, help Judith take steps toward speaking again? Giff (Until I Find Julian) fills Judith’s story with bighearted characters and a palpable sense of place that readers will be glad to spend time with. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)