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FAMILY REMINDERS by Julie Danneberg


by Julie Danneberg & illustrated by John Shelley

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: July 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-58089-320-6
Publisher: Charlesbridge

Mary McHugh’s placid life in the hard-rock gold-mining town of Cripple Creek, Colo., in the 1890s changes when her beloved father loses a leg in a mining accident. The once-lively man also loses heart, and Mary, whose spunk is undimmed by her confusion, tries to help the family recover by selling “family reminders,” her father’s well-executed wood carvings of memorable occasions and ordinary days in their lives. She and her mother also offer emotional strength, sometimes forcing him to escape from his depression. “[L]oosely based on the life of [the author’s] grandmother” in Cripple Creek and on her great-grandfather, a hard-rock miner who lost his leg, the episodic story vividly describes the way family life changes when terrible events occur and how families can also recover given time, patience and love. Shelley’s black-and-white cartoonish sketches don’t add much to the strong text but neither do they diminish this warm family story with characters a reader might like to know. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 8-11)