A girl in foster care tries to find her birth mother before she loses her forever in this “tender tale” (School Library Journal, starred review) about last chances and new opportunities. For a kid bouncing from foster home to foster home, The Book of Changes is the perfect companion. That’s why Marin carries three pennies and a pocket-sized I Ching with her everywhere she goes. Yet when everything in her life suddenly starts changing—like landing in a foster home that feels like somewhere she could stay, maybe forever—the pennies don’t have any answers for her. Marin is positive that all the wrongs in her life will be made right if only she can find her birth mother and convince her that they belong together. Marin is close, oh so close—until she gets some unwelcome news and her resolve, like the uneasy earth far beneath the city of San Francisco, is shaken
This meaningful book about a girl named Marin and her journey in finding a new mother is moving and beautiful, though it’s not all sunshine and daisies. I think this is a great read for kids to learn more about foster children and gain empathy and understanding what it might be like for them. The only note I have is that the social worker does end up breaking the rules and not reporting Marin’s “running away” incident so that the family can move towards adoption—which is good for this family, but it does show that she broke the rules to make it happen.
Melanie Crowder lives on the Colorado Front Range, where she is a writer and educator. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the young adult novels Audacity and An Uninterrupted View of the Sky and the middle grade novels Parched, A Nearer Moon, Three Pennies, and The Lighthouse Between the Worlds.