Is there a sign when childhood has ended? For eleven-year-old Fern it’s the streak of gray that already runs through her hair. Fern’s had to grow up quickly ever since her mom’s tragic accident. Her stepfather works when he can, which lately hasn't been often enough. Fern has taken on more and more responsibility - getting her two little brothers to school everyday as well as making meals which frequently requires foraging for food in the neighboring forest. It’s definitely not an easy life, but many people in the town are struggling to make ends meet as well. Then a new company moves into town with the promise of high paying jobs for many of the town's residents including Fern’s stepdad and her best friend’s father. But will this new business ruin the forest Fern loves and relies on for her family’s survival? When her wealthy grandfather offers Fern the opportunity to live with him and have an easy life, Fern has to make some difficult decisions.
This novel is great read that tackles the tangled web of poverty, family, friendship and the environment. It will be both a “mirror” and “window” to help readers understand what life is like for children living in poverty and how life changing decisions are never easy to make.
Read this book, it just may make you reconsider some things you thought you already knew.
"Fern," she says, ‘don’t ever be ashamed of being poor. I’ve never met a strong woman who had an easy go of things early on."