Bess Cunningham has never been popular, and she plans to do something about it. She's got a fresh style with plenty of unique clothes, and she's the new stage manager for the musical at her middle school. She couldn't care less about the volunteer work her parents do at a soup kitchen until she meets Grace Jarvis Battle. The kind, elderly woman reminds Bess of her grandmothers except for one significant difference--Grace lives on the street and finds food in dumpsters. Because of Grace, Bess begins to think about her priorities and realizes there are more important things in life than trying to win friends with a few wild outfits. Ellen Wittlinger won a Michael L. Printz Honor for her writing and is praised for her ability to tackle important topics from original perspectives. Narrator Stina Nielsen perfectly captures the confusion so many middle-schoolers face as they desperately try to find their place in the world.
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by Stephanie Greene
by Joyce Carol Oates
by Norton Juster
by Elizabeth Doyle Carey
by Kevin Brooks
by Bernard Waber
by Meg Cabot
by Joan Lowery Nixon
"When Bess Cunningham starts middle school, she decides that she's going to be noticed and make lots of new friends, so she wears wild clothes and becomes stage manager for the school play. Her plans seem to be working, but everything is threatened when she meets Gracie, a homeless woman who eats at the shelter where her parents volunteer on Sundays. Stina Nielsen perfectly portrays the emotions of early adolescence, interpreting the text, particularly the dialogue, with just the right hint of whining here, embarrassment there, and sure-fire confidence and outrage sprinkled throughout. Paired with Ellen Wittlinger's insightful writing about the pressures and uncertainties of middle school, this is a winning combination. A.F. (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine"
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