Third-grader Hannah Levin hatches up an idea to restore Raccoon River’s crumbling theater.
Hannah, on a bike ride in town with her friend Nico, remarks on the closed, dilapidated state of the Plaza Theater and how wonderful it would be to have a place where the town could show movies, hold concerts, and even have its high school graduation. A go-getter, Hannah decides that they, the kids, will spearhead a project to restore the building. Wohl’s lively, often dryly funny narrative reads like an upbeat how-to manual, and that’s not a bad thing. Hannah thinks up ideas, engages others, works hard, and confronts her fears as she makes her dream happen. Even Brandon Big Mouth can’t get her down. As it turns out, Brandon has a reason for being so negative—and when Hannah finds out what it is, she extends the hand of friendship and support. This is a great story for our fractured times, highlighting how inclusiveness, cooperation, and respect can accomplish good in a community. Tuchman’s black-and-white spot illustrations show many shades of skin tone and one child who uses a wheelchair. Hannah and Nico are shown as white; the (male) librarian and mayor have darker skin and hair.
With its energetic writing and can-do attitude, this is sure to be a hit with readers who have ideas and want the motivation and encouragement to carry them out. (Fiction. 6-8)