Claudia Mills

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A Junior Library Guild Selection

STARRED review from Kirkus

Twelve-year-old Sonnet has just moved to Indiana to live with her recently widowed grandfather; Sonnet worries about his deep grief for his dead wife. Fellow seventh-grader Zeke has been home-schooled until this year by his father, whose ardent environmental activism constantly embarrasses him.

For a school oral history assignment, Sonnet and Zeke interview Sonnet’s grandfather, whose memories center on his beloved heirloom apple tree, lone survivor of a now-vanished orchard. In the course of the interviews, painful family secrets are revealed that lead Sonnet to realize the healing power of even the saddest stories and lead Zeke to a new, closer relationship with his father.

Just as an old apple tree can be grafted onto a young tree for new life, an old man’s stories can help the next generation reach a new understanding of each other . . . and themselves.