cover image The Private Notebook of Katie Roberts, Age 11

The Private Notebook of Katie Roberts, Age 11

Amy Hest. Candlewick Press (MA), $14.99 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-474-9

Dramatic changes are in store for New York native Katie Roberts (introduced in Love You, Soldier) when her war-widow mother marries Sam Gold in 1947. Before Katie and her mom move to Sam's ranch in Texas, Katie's elderly neighbor gives her a leather notebook; Hest's novel and Lamut's pictures are relayed as Katie's entries, doodles and pasted-in snapshots. An unusually exuberant narrator, Katie confides her anxieties about entering a new school (``I can see myself now, ALL ALONE, me and my egg sandwich...''); her triumphs (she is editor of the class paper); her uneasiness at her mother's pregnancy (``I wanted to give her a big hug and ask her to read me a story the way she used to, but another part of me wanted to yell WHAT WOULD DADDY SAY?''); and her concerns about Sam's desire to adopt her. Keenly-and humorously-aware of the injustices that have been flung upon her, this fresh character will win readers as she surmounts hurdle after hurdle. Ages 8-11. (May)