Saturday, November 30, 2019

Middle Grade Pick: On Snowden Mountain

On Snowden Mountain
by Jeri Watts
Candlewick Press
193 pages
ISBN: 9780763697440

Twelve year old Ellen's father goes off to fight World War II, and her mother sinks into her deepest depression yet. Ellen has nowhere to turn except her distant Aunt Pearl. Pearl shows up, takes everything into her own hands and packs the family up to live in her small frame home at the base of the mountains in West Virginia.

Ellen is used to big city Baltimore and going to school with children her age. In the mountains, there's nothing but a one room schoolhouse, a gruff teacher, farm kids, mountain kids and a stinky skunk kid. There's nothing to do in the small village and Ellen isn't one to explore the mountain. Her mother is like a walking zombie, and Ellen fears she may end up with her mother's illness after she learns her grandmother also suffered depression.

Aunt Pearl's distance thaws out over time, and Ellen enjoys spending time with her and hearing about the past. Although her mother doesn't seem any better, Ellen gets a letter with news her father is coming home.

Issues of abuse, mental illness, poverty, depression, war and friendship are deftly handled by author Jeri Watts. Although the issues seem for a much older crowd this is a lower middle grade read that could easily be read by age eight and up.

Recommended grade 4 and up and for introspective readers who enjoy a "quiet" story.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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