Set in Missouri in 1938, Horvath combines old-fashioned charm with timeless relevance. Narrator Emily Ann Campbell, 11, wants to leave her mark at Park School before she moves on to middle school. Through the quiet but firm demands of her new teacher, Mr. Van, Emily discovers how to go about doing just that. Mr. Van puts Emily to work writing poems, and as she composes in the hush of her family's abandoned barn, she learns about the power of words--that they can ""bottle"" moments. She also discovers that words can hurt, when she creates a mean-spirited Valentine to the class ""pain"" that is intercepted by Mr. Van. Emily is a bright, motivated, and engaging narrator. Through her, Horvath demystifies the rhythm and romance of writing poetry, in an accessible story sure to make its own mark.