A story of family, faith, and following your heart
For ten-year-old Cadence Jolly, birthdays are a constant reminder of all that has changed since her mother skipped town with dreams of becoming a singing star. Cadence inherited that musical soul, she can't deny it, but otherwise she couldn't be more different - she's as shy as can be.
She did make a promise last year that she would try to break out of her shell, just a little. And she prayed that she'd get the courage to do it. As her eleventh birthday draws near, she realizes time is running out. And when a secret recording of her singing leaks and catches the attention of her whole church, she needs to decide what's better: deceiving everyone by pretending it belongs to someone else, or finally stepping into the spotlight.
In a story filled with whimsy and hope, Sherri Winston inspires readers to embrace the voice within.
"What happens if you make a promise to God, then try to take it back?" Ten-year-old Cadence Jolly finds herself asking that question after she promises to share her secret talent for singing with the world or at least with her church in Winston's (President of the Whole Sixth Grade) warm story of growing up and coming out of one's shell. A folksy first-person narrative reveals an intensely introverted girl who wants to be "the mouse that roared" but can't quite muster it, whether she's trying to sing by herself, stand up to a pushy friend, or tell her father not to make a big deal of her birthday (it's also the anniversary of her mother skipping out on the family). As courage fails Cadence, she finds solace in her musical talent and love of words. When that talent is accidentally shared online, she's forced to take credit or continue to cower. Focusing on an African American church community and incorporating references to gospel music throughout, Winston breathes fresh life into the shy-kid narrative, making Cadence's story feel both individual and universal. Ages 8 12.