Preteen activist takes charge
Who's the girl wearing the green-and-yellow hat made of hemp as a protest against the working conditions in Mexico or snapping Thomas Duke's pencil after another one of his daily bra-checks? Why it's That Girl Lucy Moon, Turtle Rock, Minnesota's endearing, one-of-a-kind sixth-grade activist, created by first-time novelist Amy Timberlake. In this clever, often amusing story, Lucy crusades against her small town's biggest injustice yet: Miss Ilene Viola Wiggins placing a fence and no trespassing signs around Wiggins Hill, which gives Turtle Rock its best sledding slopes.
At first Lucy achieves instant popularity and support for her many schemes. But when her fellow classmates receive punishment from their parents and disciplinary threats from their junior high principal, they start to shun her. Soon Lucy becomes a scapegoat for the student body's actions and a victim of Miss Wiggins' negative influence in town. Taking on Turtle's Rock's injustices are hard enough, but Lucy must also deal with the challenges of being 12 years old. She's afraid that her lifelong best friend (who started wearing a bra over the summer) will dump her due to her lack of development. She knows she likes Sam (even though he did ignore her after his parents grounded him), but does she like him? Her photographer mother hasn't returned from her cross-country trip, needing time away from being a mom. And her complacent father doesn't have a clue how 12-year-old girls work.
Given all her setbacks, the preteen must ask herself if one person can make a difference. The answer, undoubtedly, is yes, especially if that person is Lucy Moon! The discovery of a lost historical document, friends who believe in you, and a father who takes the time to reconnect can also make a difference and bring back sledding to Wiggins Hill. Turtle Rock's spunky heroine will strike a chord in survivors of junior high and bring delight and inspiration to budding activists.
Angela Leeper lives, writes and takes action in Wake Forest, North Carolina.