NPR's Best Book of 2018
An orphan grapples with her unpleasant aunt and the even more unpleasant idea of moving to Boston in this poignant middle-grade debut that handles loss and renewal.
"Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, Donut’s story is gritty, hopeful and ultimately all about the various ways that love shows up. I loved it.”--Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist novel The Underneath
"Taxidermy? What better journey to uncover the true stuff of character! A classic, indelible debut."--Rita Williams-Garcia, author of the Newbery Honor novel One Crazy Summer
Donut is an eleven-year old geography buff who keeps her taxidermied mice hidden in her late mother’s hope chest. Her pops passed away, leaving her an orphan. Aunt Agnes has moved in, bringing along her lumpy oatmeal, knitting, and a plan to drag Donut off to Boston forever.
Donut stands to lose everything: her friends, her village, her home, the woods, and walks where the memories of her pops are stored up.
While Donut dodges the ache of missing her pops, she and her best friend Tiny plan how to keep her where she belongs.
A Stitch in Time by Daphne Kalmar is shot through with gorgeous, evocative language, and gets right to Donut’s heart.
Tautly written yet surging with emotion, this debut novel is set in 1927 Vermont, where an 11-year-old girl contends with wrenching past, present, and (she fears) future loss. After her mother died in childbirth, Donut (nicknamed for the confection that alone could lull her to sleep as a baby) was raised by her father, whose recent accidental death brings a double-edged sadness: not only does Donut miss him immensely, but without the memories he shares, "She'd lost her mother for good, now." Her stodgy aunt's decision that Donut move to Boston to live with her outrages the girl, who recognizes that leaving her village means "I'll be leaving Pops, too. He's here, everywhere." In protest, Donut runs away to an abandoned cabin, but she sinks her father's homemade boat midlake and inadvertently sets fire to the shack. Kalmar introduces a delightfully intricate character in Donut, whose passions include bird taxidermy, memorizing tidbits from the atlas Pops gave her, and her friendships with affectingly portrayed Vermonters. The author leaves readers knowing that her insightful, articulate, and wry heroine will land solidly on her feet. Ages 8 12.