cover image Louisiana’s Way Home

Louisiana’s Way Home

Kate DiCamillo. Candlewick, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9463-0

Fans of Newbery Medalist DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale will delight in finding out what becomes of Raymie’s orphaned friend Louisiana Elefante in this “story of woe and confusion” that is also a “story of joy and kindness and free peanuts.” In Florida, 12-year-old narrator Louisiana is whisked out of bed at 3 a.m. by her grandmother—her caretaker—who declares that “the day of reckoning has arrived” and they must leave straightaway. The trip is aborted in Richford, Ga., when suffering Granny has to have all her teeth removed. Stuck in a motel while her grandmother recuperates, homesick Louisiana seethes with resentment but is distracted by young Burke Allen, who has a pet crow and knows how to get free food from the vending machine. Then Granny abandons Louisiana, leaving her with nothing but a letter revealing that everything Louisiana knows about her past is a lie. Populated with unforgettable characters, including kindhearted adults who recognize Louisiana’s dire situation and offer options, this bittersweet novel shows a deep understanding of children’s emotions and celebrates their resiliency. Readers will feel as much empathy for Louisiana as they did for her friend Raymie. Ages 10–up. [em](Oct.) [/em]