|From the desk of Zoe Washington|
Author: Marks, Janae
Avid baker Zoe Washington receives a letter on her twelfth birthday from her biological father, who is in prison for a terrible crime.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 506687
Booklist (+) (11/15/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/15/2019 *Starred Review* This exceptionally sweet debut from Marks illustrates profound cracks in the American criminal justice system while telling an affecting story grounded in the middle-grade experience. Zoe Washington, a soon-to-be seventh-grader growing up outside Boston, is celebrating a birthday bereft of friends due to distance and betrayal, when a surprise letter from her incarcerated father arrives and throws her life into emotional disarray. The clandestine correspondence they strike up, letters and a few phone calls facilitated by her maternal grandmother, has to be kept a secret from her mother, especially once Zoe decides to investigate whether her father is truly guilty of the dreadful crime that sent him to prison before she was born. Marks tells this story of forgiveness and redemption in a way that will make sense to tween readers without being patronizing or overly complicated. The troubling ways race affects the characters—Zoe, who is Black, is subjected to microaggressions when out in public with her white stepfather and Black mother, and she questions whether her father would have been treated differently if he looked less like a “typical” suspect—will facilitate important conversations about racial profiling and incarceration rates for people of color. Fortunately, Marks’ capable storytelling and engaging characters also combine into a wondrous confection of a book, full of heart and hope and promise. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.