What It Is About: Ruthie is new to America and living in New York City during the late 1960's. She and her family have come here from Cuba to make a better life for themselves. Ruthie is frustrated because she has been placed in the "slow" class and she knows she can handle the regular classroom. She and a friend make it their goal to move up to the better class. This plan is put on hold when Ruthie and her family are in a car accident leaving Ruthie with a broken leg, put in a body cast, and confined to bed. Each time she visits the doctor hoping to have the casts removed, she is disappointed to learn that she isn't healing as fast as she would like. While frustrated, missing out on her childhood, and stranded in her room, Ruthie begins to take up writing and artistic ventures. She also forms new friendships and continues the "old" ones that were started before the accident. Ruthie learns about true strength in both herself and those people that surround her. After a full year in in the cast and living in her room, she is finally released back into the real world, but Ruthie isn't sure she is ready; while her fears may keep her away from the life she really wants to live.
What I Thought Of It: Nancy Paulsen must know the type of stories I enjoy most because both of the ARC's she sent me were complete winners with me. I thought this was an incredible story and felt like I was "inside" the book living this story beside Ruthie, her family, and friends. It was interesting to learn about the move from Cuba to American, the struggles they faced, and how difficult life could be for immigrants new to this country. I realized while reading that I'm sure some of our new students in our schools from different countries are probably still facing some of the same challenges in 2017 that children did in 1967. Ruthie was a fighter and knew where she belonged both at school and at home.
Who Should Read It: A new book in my classroom is always a great day and I can't wait to share this story with my readers this coming week. The novel is perfect for strong readers in fourth grade. The reading level, content, and story would be spot-on for our fifth and/or sixth grade readers. I'm also thinking it would be awesome to be used with the middle-school readers. As always adult readers will find this a satisfying and enjoyable read. Happy Reading...
Rating: 4 STARS out of 5 Stars