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CAROLINA HARMONY by Marilyn Taylor McDowell

CAROLINA HARMONY

By Marilyn Taylor McDowell

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: March 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-73590-2
Publisher: Delacorte

Taylor’s impressive debut takes place in the western mountains of 1960s North Carolina, just when modern, legalistic American culture has begun encroaching on the old mountain ways. Ten-year-old Carolina, who has lost her family to a car accident, moves in with her grandmother, “Auntie Shen.” Carolina and Auntie Shen get on well, grieving together for their lost loved ones, making jellies and jams to sell at a roadside stand and sharing the small joys of a simple life. When Auntie Shen suffers a stroke, Carolina finds herself in a system that prevents her from moving in with her best friend’s mother, instead being shuffled around from one miserable place to another until, finally, she runs away. Once on her own, Carolina’s feisty spirit, forged in the mountain ways of faith and flexibility, helps her make her way to another special place that she can call home. Although Taylor clearly aims to emphasize the value of the old mountain ways, her nuanced narrative illuminates the value and the potential pitfalls of both modern and mountain culture. (Historical fiction. 9-12)