This is a middle grade book that does so many thing right. The story is one, that during my many years of reading bedtime stories to my daughter, would have become a favorite for both of us. It touches on a very heavy topic, one that so many American families deal with. As a single mother, my daughter and I struggled a lot early on and Jackson reminded me of her in her younger years. I know this is a middle grade book but one done in a way that could benefit adults, as well. As the book progresses we see that as much as the parents feel they are protecting their children, they are not oblivious to the situation and not including them in a discussion of what is happening causes a lot of stress and eventually anger. Jackson, who is so much older than his years, tries to ease his parents minds by playing down how much he knows, but it eats at him that they don't trust that he is old or mature enough to handle the truth. The arrival of Crenshaw, Jackson imaginary friend that first appeared when he was 7 and homeless, marks change. He came to Jackson when he needed him most, but reappearing now turns his world upside down. Crenshaw represents the idea that while Jackson is an "old soul" and capable of handling/understanding their predicament he is still in his heart a kid. This book tugged at my mommy heart strings and I recommend it 100% to share with your kids. It is a story that deserves a conversation and a place on your book shelf.
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