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A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019

“A big-hearted story that’s as sweet as it is awesome.” —R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder

In the tradition of Wonder and Out of My Mind, this big-hearted middle grade debut tells the story of an irrepressible girl with cerebral palsy whose life takes an unexpected turn when she moves to a new town.

Ellie’s a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she’s going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing is, Ellie has big dreams: She might be eating Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’s going to be a professional baker. If she’s not writing fan letters to her favorite celebrity chefs, she’s practicing recipes on her well-meaning, if overworked, mother.

But when Ellie and her mom move so they can help take care of her ailing grandpa, Ellie has to start all over again in a new town at a new school. Except she’s not just the new kid—she’s the new kid in the wheelchair who lives in the trailer park on the wrong side of town. It all feels like one challenge too many, until Ellie starts to make her first-ever friends. Now she just has to convince her mom that this town might just be the best thing that ever happened to them!

Photograph © Bethany Rogers

Jamie Sumner is the author of Roll with It and Tune It Out. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and other publications. She loves stories that celebrate the grit and beauty in all kids. She is also the mother of a son with cerebral palsy and has written extensively about parenting a child with special needs. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit her at Jamie-Sumner.com.

"Narrator Candace Thaxton lends her unique voice to a feisty and unforgettable protagonist. Born with cerebral palsy, Ellie Cowan has always been wheelchair bound, but that hasn't stopped her from dreaming big. She wants to become a professional baker. But when her grandfather's dementia worsens, Ellie and her mom must move to look after him. Narrating in an emotional tone, Thaxton skillfully captures Ellie's wry sense of humor, along with her charming idiosyncratic friends, Coralee and Bert. Listeners will hear Ellie's loneliness and determination as she struggles to find independence and her place in the world. Written from the author's own experience as a special needs parent, this heartwarming story is brought to life as Thaxton strikes the perfect balance of grit and tenderness."

– AudioFile Magazine

More books from this reader: Candace Thaxton