By Ruth White
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99, 168 pages
Ruth White, the award-winning author of Belle Prater’s Boy, has published her new children’s book, A Month of Sundays. Sundays begins in a small Kentucky town during the mid-1950s, and chronicles a girl’s first steps into womanhood through love, loss and self-discovery.
“Young people are not supposed to die. It makes no sense” (166).
Fourteen-year-old April Garnet Rose has not had a privileged upbringing. Her father ran off with a carnival singer before she was born and her mother can no longer make ends meet. When April’s mother decides to look for work in Florida, Garnet is sent to live with distant relatives in Virginia. While April enjoys the company of her attentive Aunt June, she feels abandoned and unloved. However, when Garnet discovers the unsettling secret her Aunt June is hiding, and when she falls in love for the first time, she also learns to look outside herself for answers to complex problems. Her Aunt June’s spiritual explorations, and ultimately, a life-changing tragedy, further instruct her that “there is nothing outside us that is going to save us… the kingdom of heaven is within”.
I recommend this book to 4th-6th grade readers who are looking for a short read about love, loss and searching for God. A Month of Sundays is also a good choice for parents who wish to discuss tough topics such as spirituality, sickness, healing and death with their children.
Reviewed by Emily Davis