“Never, under any circumstances, tell anyone that you’re waiting for your mother to come back for you.” That’s Marin’s motto in ThreePennies by Melanie Crowder.
With her I Ching, three pennies, and a ceramic piggy bank, eleven-year-old Marin travels from foster home to foster home until she meets Dr. Lucy. The sweet, honest, earnest Dr. Lucy would love to adopt Marin, but only if Marin will let her in her heart, and the heart is a very important organ. Even though Dr. Lucy is a surgeon, she has a less-than medical explanation for the four chambers of the heart. She says she likes to, “…think each chamber is responsible for a different kind of love. One for family. One for friends. Maybe another for pets and really special teachers…” Dr. Lucy’s fourth chamber is saved for romantic love and that space is full, but Dr. Lucy goes on to say, “…the other three chambers of my heart still have lots of room left—the family chamber, and the friends one, and the one for pets, too. What about you? Do you have any room left? Not in the chamber you have saved for your mother, of course. But what about the pet one?”
Still, as much as Dr. Lucy tries, Marin just can’t let someone else be her mother, can she? With the clock ticking down to the court meeting for adoption proceedings, Marin starts a secret and clever hunt for her birth mother. Readers will fall in love with Marin, which makes it all the more worrisome as she dives head-first into danger!
Crowder’s writing is beautiful and engaging. If hearts had a chamber for loved books, then Three Pennies would fit perfectly in that chamber.
Don’t take my word for it. The stars shine bright from the reviewers, too:
STARRED REVIEW FROM KIRKUS: “As tectonic plates shift underneath San Francisco, 11-year-old Marin rearranges the spaces in her own heart for the woman who wants to be her mother. A beautifully written and thoroughly modern family breaking-and-making story. (Fiction. 9-12)”
STARRED REVIEW FROM SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: The language of this short and intense story is spare and evocative, and the chapters are brief and impressionistic. VERDICT This tender tale of human frailty tugs at heartstrings and will satisfy tweens who like to read with a tissue handy.
Where to buy:
Boulder Bookstore (EVENT! Book signing with Melanie Crowder, Tara Dairman, and Jeannie Mobley September 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Boulder Bookstore, Pearl Street, Boulder CO)
- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 2, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1481471872
- ISBN-13: 978-1481471879
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