Challenges No Kid Ever Wants To Face!
- What Defines True Friendship? -Synopsis:
Mattie and her family move from North Carolina to Philadelphia to be near her grandmother. Any move can be tough, but this move is in the middle of the school year during winter break. The family settles into an apartment building where Mattie discovers an 11-year-old lives next door to her: Agnes P. Davis, who is creative, quirky, exuberant and fun to be with. Meanwhile, Mattie's father is working long hours at his new job, and her mother can't find work which is taking a toll on the family.
Eventually, winter break is over and Mattie is faced with the challenge of fitting into an already established classroom, one Agnes will be in too, but Agnes misses the first three days of school since she’s discovered an abandoned baby bird that she feels needs to be cared for.
As Mattie begins to make friends in her class and even a boyfriend, she has a new challenge. Her good friend Agnes P. Davis, who has by now returned to school, is so unique and in many ways considered odd, that Mattie has to decide if she will acknowledge that she is friends with Agnes. By doing that she will no doubt risk losing the friends she has made since they are very opinionated about their feelings toward Agnes, as is the whole class.
Though most adults in the story can quickly see that Agnes is sweet even with some unusual qualities like having no filters at times, not wanting to be touched, and being very knowledgeable as well as examining things in more detail than most her age, the students are threatened by her quirkiness. Though it never says it in the book, it feels like some of her behaviors indicate a degree of autism.
What Concerned Me: Nothing
What I Liked Most: This is a wonderful story to read in a classroom setting since it can open lots of discussions. And, of course, I would recommend it to individual children 8 - 12 as well. The characters feel real with honest dilemmas that students are many times faced with.
Author: Melissa C. Walker