cover image Possibles


Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.95 (179pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22823-0

Featuring characters as likable and real as those in Nelson's Mayfield Crossing, this story about a grieving African American girl is suspenseful as well as poignant. Nothing can ever be the same for 12-year-old Sheppy after her father dies of cancer. As the bills mount, everyone in her family must pitch in to make ends meet. Her mother takes on a second job, her older brother starts mowing lawns and, instead of going to summer camp, Sheppy begins ``lady-sitting'' for cantankerous Miss Montgomery, a wealthy young woman who has broken her leg. Sorely missing her father and lonely for her friends, Sheppy doubts her father's belief that ``all things are possible.'' But after stumbling across some poems written by her father, she finds the strength she needs to cope with her problems. Readers will empathize with Sheppy, and their hearts will go out to other players in this moving drama: Sheppy's mother and brother, also mourning their loss; Sheppy's friend, Parker, whose mother has run off; and even Miss Montgomery, who carries a dark romantic secret. The well-developed plot includes moments of intrigue, such as Sheppy's daring mission to retrieve some important letters hidden from Miss Montgomery. An affirmation of the power of faith and love. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)