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*What Momma Left Me* by Renee Watson- young readers fantasy book review
 
Also by Renee Watson:

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen
What Momma Left Me
by Renee Watson
Grades 5-8 240 pages Bloomsbury USA July 2010 Hardcover    

When Serenity Evansí mother dies and her father disappears, Serenity and her brother go to live with her maternal grandparents. Serenityís grandfather is the pastor of a small church, and his faith gives him the strength to face many tragedies in life that others would simply try to escape. In showing their grandchildren that faith on a daily basis, they desire to instill in Serenity and her brother, Danny, a dependence on that faith for their own strength.

Serenity finds a best friend at church and school, as well as a mentor in the classroom who encourages her to write and express her feelings in a way that is good and enriching. Danny, on the other hand, finds friends who give him a way to escape the discipline of home and the responsibilities of his own actions. When he is faced with another tragedy in his life, he is forced to take another look at the life he has made for himself and the direction in which he is heading.

This book is deceptive in that the cover leads you to expect that the reading will be light and the issues dealt with simple. But life lessons are seldom simple, and the authorís introduction to abuse, sibling rivalry, bullying and cheating are offset by the values of faith, loyalty, friendship and commitment. This is a not-to-be missed story for middle school and young adult readers.

Author Watson grew up singing in the church choir, acting in school plays and writing for the school newspaper. All of these creative activities gave her a picture of her character, Serenity. Watson continues to give back to schools today by serving as a teaching artist in the schools near her home.
 
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