Author: Betsy R. Rosenthal
Age Range: 9-12 (from publisher)
Interest Range: 9-12
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Almost biographical, Novel in Verse
Plot: Edith is lost in her family. It is during the depression, and Edith is growing up in a family of 14- she is the 4th child. Her teacher has given them the assignment to write a poem about their family, and calls Edith out when she does not include herself in the poem. Edith spends the next year going through school and life at home trying to figure out who she is in her large Jewish family. Eventually, she discovers the parts of herself that make her stand out from the crowd.
Review: I loved this book. Since it is told in a series of poems, it moves very quickly. The poems give you such an interesting perspective of Edith’s family, lots of little snapshots and quick thoughts that this very bright girl has regarding her surroundings. The poems range from purely observational to very introspective. I really appreciated the part at the end of the book that explained how the author got the inspiration for all of the events in the book from her mother (the real-life Edith), along with her aunts and uncles. What a wonderful way to learn about and then memorialize your family. Also, a story told in poems gives readers another example of writing and how a story can be told. A very original and interesting story.
Themes: Coming of age
Edith: Edith is 11-going-on-12 during the time frame of this book (she also happens to be the author’s mother). She is the 4th of 12 children in an almost-orthodox Jewish family. She is smart, and owns the nickname “the little mother” for all the care she displays for her brothers and sisters. But Edith is struggling to figure out who exactly she is in this big family, and eventually a comment from her teacher makes all the difference.
Rosenthal, B. R. (2012). Looking For Me. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
In a big family, it can take quite a bit of searching to find out who you really are.