Family Reminders

( 1 )

Overview

Sometimes we all need a little reminder.

Ten-year-old Mary McHugh’s world is shattered when her father is injured in a mining accident in the late 1800’s. After losing his leg, Mary’s father falls into a deep depression. He no longer plays the piano or has interest in carving the intricate wooden "Reminders" that he has always made to remind the family of the milestones they shared together. To make matters worse, the family may need to leave ...

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Family Reminders

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Overview

Sometimes we all need a little reminder.

Ten-year-old Mary McHugh’s world is shattered when her father is injured in a mining accident in the late 1800’s. After losing his leg, Mary’s father falls into a deep depression. He no longer plays the piano or has interest in carving the intricate wooden "Reminders" that he has always made to remind the family of the milestones they shared together. To make matters worse, the family may need to leave their home in Cripple Creek, Colorado in order to make ends meet.

Mary’s love for her father and her desire to get life back to "normal" push her to take a chance that restores her father’s spirit and brings her family a new life, strengthened by the hardships they have endured.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
Mary has a perfect memory of a warm day spent with her father walking her to school. She remembers every detail and plays it over and over in her mind, always stopping right before the sound from the siren gave her a warning that everything had changed. The siren is from the mine, and Mary learns later that her father has been seriously injured and eventually loses his leg. When Daddy comes home from the hospital, his warm smile and easy laugh are gone. He is worried all the time now, and Mama seems sad and anxious. Mary decides to get a job to help bring in some money. As time goes by, Daddy regains some of his strength and starts carving reminders again—his name for small figurines capturing scenes from the family's past. Mary and Mama take in laundry to support the family, but that is not enough. Mary has an idea, but will she be able to make it work? Subtle illustrations by Shelley give glimpses into the family's changing life. Reviewer: Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Mining for gold in 1890s Cripple Creek, CO, is dangerous, yet it's the way of life for the frontier families who call it home. When 10-year-old Mary McHugh's father loses his leg in a mining accident, their peaceful existence is destroyed. The once-jovial man becomes sullen and depressed when he can no longer support his family, and Mary's mother grapples with trying to make ends meet while keeping her subservient role in the household. Mary's dad has always carved wooden "Reminders" of the family and their special times, and these carvings bring both pain and comfort to the child. The story alternates between the present and past as Mary remembers happier times. She tries desperately to remind her family members of them as she schemes for a way for her father to support them again. Shelley's India ink and pen illustrations add to the historical feel of this gentle, yet gripping story. This is a heartwarming novel about overcoming hardship, but it may need to be booktalked or read to children, who may not discover this little gem on their own.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Mary McHugh's placid life in the hard-rock gold-mining town of Cripple Creek, Colo., in the 1890s changes when her beloved father loses a leg in a mining accident. The once-lively man also loses heart, and Mary, whose spunk is undimmed by her confusion, tries to help the family recover by selling "family reminders," her father's well-executed wood carvings of memorable occasions and ordinary days in their lives. She and her mother also offer emotional strength, sometimes forcing him to escape from his depression. "[L]oosely based on the life of [the author's] grandmother" in Cripple Creek and on her great-grandfather, a hard-rock miner who lost his leg, the episodic story vividly describes the way family life changes when terrible events occur and how families can also recover given time, patience and love. Shelley's black-and-white cartoonish sketches don't add much to the strong text but neither do they diminish this warm family story with characters a reader might like to know. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580893213
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 1,372,753
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Danneberg is the author of several books for children, including FIRST DAY JITTERS, FIRST YEAR LETTERS, LAST DAY BLUES, COWBOY SLIM, and FAMILY REMINDERS. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
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Customer Reviews

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