When a mysterious man arrives one day on Orange Street, the children who live on the block try to find out who he is and why he’s there. Little do they know that his story–and the story of a very old orange tree–connects to each of their personal worries in ways they never could have imagined. From impressing friends to dealing with an expanding family to understanding a younger sibling’s illness, the characters’ story lines come together around that orange tree.
Taking place over the course of a day and a half, Joanne Rocklin’s masterful novel deftly builds a story about family, community, and the importance of connection. In the end the fate of the tree (and of the kids who care for it) reminds us of the magic of the everyday and of the rich history all around us.
Families are unique and have different expectations for the books they choose to read. The following is a list of concepts included in this book that some parents may wish to seek out or avoid.
Note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be concepts in this book that are not included or have been insufficiently or incorrectly detailed here.
Several of the characters in the story have fears that at times overwhelm them: for Bunny it’s her mom traveling for work; for Ali it’s her brother’s illness; and for Leandra it’s her mom’s pregnancy. What do you think it is about each girl and their specific worries that causes such concern? What are some of the things that happen in the book to help them overcome these apprehensions?
The orange tree lot holds a great deal of meaning for the residents of Orange Street. Do you have a place in your community that is special to you? If so, what is it and why is it special? What would you do if there was a possibility it could be taken away from you?
“Fully realized characters and setting definitely make this one morning on Orange Street amazing.”
“Realistic, evocative novel, which features a warm and believable community of adults and children . . . culminating in a confrontation that resolves several mysteries and brings out the best in everyone.”
“Fascinating and thought-provoking, the writing has a gentle cadence, richness in detail, and is charged with emotion. The book, like the oranges on the Orange Street tree, presents segments of life that are both sweet and tart and sure to satisfy.”