The Wonder of Charlie Anne by Kimberly Newton Fusco

This is the poignant story of Charlie Anne and her family during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Charlie Anne’s mother has recently died in childbirth and her tough unemotional cousin, Mirabel has arrived to take care of the family. Life is a never ending round of chores for Charlie Anne who misses her mother desperately. The final straw for her is when her father and older brother leave the farm and head north to try and earn money building roads.
Life changes when the neighbor, Mr Jolly takes a new wife, Rosalyn. She is very different from the local women and even dresses in brightly colored pants. She also has an African American girl, Phoebe with her. Charlie Anne becomes friends with Phoebe and soon learns that racial prejudice is rife both throughout the town and at home.
Despite the tough times and hardship there is also much humor and Charlie Anne’s personality is totally engaging. She faces the unfairness of life and finds ways to change things for the better.
A very enjoyable read especially for those who like historical fiction and learning about the way people used to live.
Recommended for Grades 4-8

Stars ****

Reviewed by Jayne Cooper, Youth Services

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