The Newbery Award-winning author of Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife's Apprentice tells a heartfelt and humorous story of WWII on the homefront.
Millie McGonigle lives in sunny California, where her days are filled with beach and surf. It should be perfect--but times are tough. Hitler is attacking Europe and it looks like the United States may be going to war. Food is rationed and money is tight. And Millie's sickly little sister gets all the attention and couldn't be more of a pain if she tried. It's all Millie can do to stay calm and feel in control.
Still--there's sand beneath her feet. A new neighbor from the city, who has a lot to teach Millie. And surfer boy Rocky to admire--even if she doesn't have the guts to talk to him.
It's a time of sunshine, siblings, and stress. Will Millie be able to find her way in her family, and keep her balance as the the world around her loses its own?
Newbery Medalist Cushman melds historical detail and generous humor in this gently paced novel of family travails and sociopolitical tensions set in 1941 California. With the threat of war looming following the death of her beloved grandmother, 12-year-old Millie is determined to remember the departed, using a journal to record finds at San Diego's Mission Beach: "I had tides to watch and dead things to find." Millie's feelings of anxiety about global events are compounded by her white family's circumstances: food rations and her father's unemployment, her annoying little sister Lily's health, and having to share a bed with her "stink machine" middle-aged cousin, Edna, who used to live with her grandmother. Each chapter begins with a date, building momentum to December 7 and the attack on Pearl Harbor, an event that sends both her parents back to work and thrusts more responsibility on Millie. Cushman's relationships prove well grounded, and Millie's first-person voice effectively builds strength as she heals from her grandmother's death and embraces the future. Ages 8 12. \n