This sparkling middle-grade debut is a classic-in-the-making!
Maybelle Lane is looking for her father, but on the road to Nashville she finds so much more: courage, brains, heart--and true friends.
Eleven-year-old Maybelle Lane collects sounds. She records the Louisiana crickets chirping, Momma strumming her guitar, their broken trailer door squeaking. But the crown jewel of her collection is a sound she didn't collect herself: an old recording of her daddy's warm-sunshine laugh, saved on an old phone's voicemail. It's the only thing she has of his, and the only thing she knows about him.
Until the day she hears that laugh--his laugh--pouring out of the car radio. Going against Momma's wishes, Maybelle starts listening to her radio DJ daddy's new show, drinking in every word like a plant leaning toward the sun. When he announces he'll be the judge of a singing contest in Nashville, she signs up. What better way to meet than to stand before him and sing with all her heart?
But the road to Nashville is bumpy. Her starch-stiff neighbor Mrs. Boggs offers to drive her in her RV. And a bully of a boy from the trailer park hitches a ride, too. These are not the people May would have chosen to help her, but it turns out they're searching for things as well. And the journey will mold them into the best kind of family--the kind you choose for yourself.
Eleven-year-old Maybelle and her mother moved to a trailer park in Davenport, La., after a falling-out with Maybelle's Baton Rouge grandparents that she believes is her fault. Maybelle's mom works two jobs but struggles to get by, and lonely Maybelle, who is white, is bullied after her mother goes on a date with Miss King, a teacher at her school. When her mom gets a monthlong job singing on a cruise, Maybelle is left in the care of African-American neighbor Mrs. Boggs. Learning that her dad, a radio DJ whom she's never met, will be judging a singing contest in Nashville, she enters, then persuades Mrs. Boggs to drive her. Neighbor Tommy, who is white and Maybelle's occasional bully, sneaks into the trailer, and Mrs. Boggs persuades Maybelle to give him a chance, knowing that Tommy may have his own struggles. Soon the threesome, along with a dog they rescue along the way, are having an enjoyable adventure. But Maybelle, who suffers from anxiety and a fear of singing, must dig deep to find the courage to perform when they finally arrive. Lyrical and full of heart, this road trip story gets to the core of what it means to create family, to be brave, and to accept the flaws of being human. Ages 8 12.
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This is the first book I’ve picked up in a while and I enjoyed it a lot. I also feel like this book will stand the test of time.