Synopses & Reviews
Francine Green doesn't speak up much, and who can blame her? Her parents aren't interested in her opinions, the nuns at school punish girls who ask too many questions, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities is blacklisting people who express unpopular ideas. There's safety in silence. Francine would rather lose herself in a book, or in daydreams about her favorite Hollywood stars, than risk attracting attention or getting in trouble.
But when outspoken, passionate Sophie Bowman transfers into Francine's class at All Saints School for Girls, Francine finds herself thinking about things that never concerned her before free speech, the atom bomb, the existence of God, the way people treat each other. Eventually, Francine discovers that she not only has something to say, she is absolutely determined to say it.
Once again, Karen Cushman follows a young woman's progress toward her true self, this time exploring the nature of friendship and the experience of growing up Catholic in an era that is both fascinating and relevant to today's young people.
"Cushman captures the era well....Readers will relate to the pervasive fear of the period as it resonates in our post-9/11 world." School Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Sure to provoke lively class discussion, this will easily absorb independent readers in search of a rich, satisfying story about early adolescence." Booklist (Starred Review)
"This Newbery award-winning author...portrays a difficult time in American history, bringing to life the unique blend of innocence and uncertainty of the Cold War's early days." Valerie O. Patterson, Children's Literature
"[A] gem." Florence H. Munat, VOYA
"Cushman's exceptional skill at creating characters is evident..." Claire Rosser, KLIATT
"The dialogue is sharp...[in] this story of friends and foes, guilt and courage." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Cushman has the gift of making the past immediate...this time the connections to the present seem particularly apropos." Horn Book
"A compelling look at what can happen when one girl finds the courage to speak out for what she believes." BookPage
Once again, Newbery Medalist Cushman (The Midwife's Apprentice) follows a young woman's progress toward her true self, this time exploring the nature of friendship and the experience of growing up Catholic in an era that is both fascinating and relevant to today's young people.
About the Author
Karen Cushman was born in Chicago, Illinois and lives now on Vashon Island west of Seattle, Washington. She received an M.A. in human behavior and one in museum studies. Ms. Cushman has had a lifelong interest in history. She says, "I grew tired of hearing about kings, princes, generals, presidents. I wanted to know what ordinary life was like for ordinary young people in other times." Research into medieval English history and culture led to the writing of her first two novels, the Newbery Honor book Catherine, Called Birdy and the Newbery Medal-winner The Midwife's Apprentice. She is also the author of Matilda Bone, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple and, most recently, Rodzina.