“A memorable and lovely debut.”Kirkus Reviews
“Walking with Miss Millie is full of subtle wisdom. Its ending is satisfying though sobering and there are elements of this story that stay with you long after the last page has been read.”Karen English, Coretta Scott King Honor Award Author
A poignant middle grade debut about the friendship between a white girl and an elderly black woman in the 1960s South
Alice is angry at having to move to Rainbow, Georgia—a too small, too hot, dried-up place she’s sure will never feel like home. Then she gets put in charge of walking her elderly neighbor’s dog. But Clarence won’t budge without Miss Millie, so Alice and Miss Millie walk him together.
Strolling with Clarence and Miss Millie quickly becomes the highlight of Alice's day and opens her eyes to all sorts of new things to marvel over. During their walks, they meet a mix of people, and Alice sees that although there are some bullies and phonies, there are plenty of kind folks, too. Miss Millie shares her family’s story with Alice, showing her the painful impact segregation has had on their town. And with Miss Millie, Alice is finally able to express her own heartache over why her family had to move there in the first place.
Tamara Bundy’s beautifully written debut celebrates the wonder and power of friendship: how it can be found when we least expect it and make any place a home.
About the Author
Tamara Bundy is a high school English teacher with a Master’s degree in writing, and is a former columnist for the Cincinnati Post (her regular column on being a mom also appeared on EWTN global Catholic radio). Walking with Miss Millie is her debut novel. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Excerpted from "Walking with Miss Millie"
Copyright © 2017 Tamara Bundy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Walking with Miss Millie" is a sweet middle grade novel that deals with a lot of different issues in the life of Alice, an almost 11-year-old (who turns 11 during the story). It's the 1960s, and Alice's mother has moved her and her brother to Rainbow, Georgia to live with their grandmother, who has what Alice calls the "forgetting disease" (I'm assuming Alzheimer's). Alice's father left them a while back, but Alice doesn't really understand and is constantly hopeful that their father will return and take her back to Ohio. She frequently reads his old letters and tries to connect with him from a distance. After her mother catches her listening in on Miss Millie's phone call (they have a telephone party line), she makes her go over and apologize and offer to help her. When Alice visits the 92-year-old black woman, Miss Millie asks her to help walk her dog. As the dog won't go for a walk without his owner, Miss Millie comes on the walks with Alice. While they walk, they talk, and Miss Millie describes her life and stories- often teaching Alice about racism. For instance, the denial of healthcare to her young son, who died as a result. Listening to the stories of Miss Millie's life, Alice gains new perspectives into her own life. There's a host of other characters with their own stories too, such as Pam, the 8-year-old that keeps popping up. As Alice warms up to her, she learns about Pam's father, who is verbally and physically abusive. This gives Alice pause to think about her own father. While many of the issues that appear in the book are not dealt with, they raise a lot of potential discussion points for younger readers. I think this book would be best read with a discussion in classrooms or at home. There are a lot of valuable conversation starters/potential lessons, which can help developing young minds. Overall, this is an intriguing middle grade novel, and I would recommend using it to frame important discussions. Please note that I received a copy through a giveaway. All opinions are my own.
I was so touched by this book. When Alice moves to Rainbow, Georgia, she doesn't want to stay. She has a huge desire to go back home to Ohio and reunite with her father--both of which might not come true. This book is about finding home wherever we are, and how new and unexpected (perhaps unlikely) friendships can help us discover what we're actually looking for. Bundy juggles big world issues and smaller ones with finesse and grace, grounding the story in the authentic and uplifting relationship between Miss Millie and Alice Girl. I couldn't wait to find out where it would all end up. And when I got there, it was definitely satisfying. This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.