One Square Inch
Ages 9 to 12. Farrar Straus Giroux 2010. 978-0-374-33652-1
Junior Library Guild Selection
How I Came to Write This Book:
I knew it would be about a boy and his sister who escape from something difficult in their lives by creating an imaginary world in their one square inch, but I didn't yet know the source of their need to escape. Finally, some twenty years later, my own life was touched in a painful way by mental illness. So then I knew that Cooper and Carly would be trying to create a refuge from their mother's bipolar disorder, and that they would discover that the only safe place anyone can ever find is the one we create for ourselves within.
For sixth-grader Cooper and his seven-year-old sister, Carly, the new school year brings new friends, stimulating class projects – and increasing worry as their mother goes from disappearing into her room for hours and hours to rushing about buying art supplies, taking on special projects without following through, and undergoing wild swings. Cooper and Carly find some refuge in constructing a tiny bedroom kingdom, and Cooper knows he should talk to an adult. But the right time for that never seems to come. . . . Mills effectively and realistically conveys both Cooper's rising anxiety and his mother's increasingly erratic behavior. . . Expertly crafted.
Affecting and emotionally true.