Review - Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder
I don't know what it is about orphans, but give me a story where the main character is an orphan and I am immediately sucked in.
Perhaps it was growing up with Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden or Sara Crewe from A Little Princess. We can't forget about The Boxcar Children either. Then came Harry Potter and Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief. And, of course, classics like Oliver Twist and Huck Finn. All books with memorable orphans that overcome their difficult circumstances.
However, the orphan that probably hooked me for life was Anne Shirley. There is no orphan more endearing than Anne (in my opinion). I could return to Avonlea with Anne any time, she is one of my favorite fictional characters.
I love reading (or watching on the screen) and getting to know these young characters that overcome such hardship in the early years of their lives. It's inspirational and makes me feel like I can overcome anything I may be up against.
Recently I met a new orphan to love and her name is Marin. I first heard about Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder on the Books Between podcast, hosted by Corrina Allen. I immediately put the book on hold at the library and it came in right away. It sat on my shelf for awhile and I even renewed the loan twice. Then it was mentioned AGAIN on the podcast on a different episode and I knew I had to pick it up. The chapters are short and the story is a page-turner, so I had to force myself not to devour it all in one sitting.
In Three Pennies, Marin is convinced her mother is looking for her and despite finally being placed in a foster home that could potentially turn into a permanent home, Marin continues to search for her biological mother, even sacrificing her chance at living in a stable environment with a loving foster mom. She is determined to get answers about her mother and convinced the woman that gave her up for adoption wants to be a family again.
Falling in love with Marin was easy. She has a tough shell (as many fictional orphans do) but is a softie on the inside. She doesn't want to like her foster mother Lucy, but she does. Through Lucy, Marin begins to understand what a mother really is to a child and that being related biologically is not a prerequisite to mothering.
This story is woven together so simply and told almost poetically. Written in three different engaging perspectives I found myself surprised when I didn't have a favorite voice. I *always* have a favorite narrator in alternating perspective books. Melanie Crowder wrote each character with such a likable voice, I loved each one. I also appreciated the short chapters (and I know kids will, too). I cannot wait to share this book with my students and it is definitely going on my Mock Newbery 2018 list of books.
Don't let this one pass you by.