For: Young adults, gr. 6-9
FInished: Jan. 25, 2009
Georgia McCoy is a shy, thirteen-year-old seventh grader whose mother died when she was seven. Her father has been withdrawn and won't even talk about her, but keeps her art journal in his pickup with him at all times. Georgia is a gifted artist, like her mom, but it is not until her guidance counselor gives her a journal and she begins "talking" to her mother that things start to come together for her. At the same time, she receives an anonymous membership to the nearby Brandywine River Museum. She can get there by bus, and begins once or twice weekly excursions there, loving the art of the Wyeth family - N. C., Andrew, and Jamie. Her art teacher encourages her to enter a contest to received an art grant, so Georgia begins creating a portfolio.
The story is simple, the theme is simple, the writing is in verse - so it's an easy-to-read and understand story that will give teenagers plenty to mull over. There are 62 journal entries. I'm not quite sure why they were written in verse form, but the diary, first person telling is very effective. It was a very good read.
Here are paintings by the Wyeths - Pumpkinhead by Jamie Wyeth, Helga by Andrew Wyeth and a Pirate by N. C. Wyeth, all mentioned in the book.
Addendum on Monday, January 26, 2009: I finished this book yesterday, and Jen Bryant's book: A River of Words, the Story of William Carlos Williams today won the Caldecott Award for its illustrations by Melissa Sweet. Sweet!