“A big-hearted story that’s as sweet as it is awesome.” —R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder “An honest, emotionally rich take on disability, family, and growing up.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In the tradition of Wonder and Out of My Mind, this big-hearted middle grade debut tells the story of an irrepressible girl with cerebral palsy whose life takes an unexpected turn when she moves to a new town.
Ellie’s a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she’s going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing is, Ellie has big dreams: She might be eating Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’s going to be a professional baker. If she’s not writing fan letters to her favorite celebrity chefs, she’s practicing recipes on her well-meaning, if overworked, mother.
But when Ellie and her mom move so they can help take care of her ailing grandpa, Ellie has to start all over again in a new town at a new school. Except she’s not just the new kid—she’s the new kid in the wheelchair who lives in the trailer park on the wrong side of town. It all feels like one challenge too many, until Ellie starts to make her first-ever friends. Now she just has to convince her mom that this town might just be the best thing that ever happened to them!
About the Author
Jamie Sumner is the author of Roll with It, Time to Roll, Tune It Out, One Kid’s Trash, and The Summer of June. Her work has appeared in TheNew York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications. She loves stories that celebrate the grit and beauty in all kids. She is also the mother of a son with cerebral palsy and has written extensively about parenting a child with special needs. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit her at Jamie-Sumner.com.
“A big-hearted story that’s as sweet as it is awesome.” —R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder
"Ellie is filled with ideas for delicious baked goods, but she can’t quite figure out the recipe to make her family feel whole again. Filled with heart and spirit—I love this book.” —Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, author of The Story Collector series and A Dog Like Daisy
"My son Jacob says: 'I usually read books about wizards and magic, but I liked this a lot. I liked the scenes and I wanted to hang out with Ellie. I'm reading it a second time now.'"—Deb Perelman, creator of Smitten Kitchen
* "Drawing on her own experiences with her son, who has cerebral palsy, debut author Sumner doesn’t sugarcoat Ellie’s daily challenges—social, emotional, and physical—including navigating showers and crowded classrooms. . . . Ellie is easy to champion, and her story reminds readers that life’s burdens are always lighter with friends and family—and a good piece of pie—at the ready." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
* “Her voice equal parts vulnerable, reflective, and deliciously wry, Ellie is refreshingly complex. Kids navigating disabilities may find her frank frustration with inaccessibility, illness, and patronization particularly cathartic, but readers with and without disabilities will recognize her desire to belong. The mother of a son with CP, the author portrays Ellie and her mom's loving but fraught relationship with achingly vivid accuracy, bringing the tension between Ellie's craving for independence and her mother's fears to a satisfying resolution. . . . An honest, emotionally rich take on disability, family, and growing up.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Ellie takes on life head first, and her first-person, present-tense narrative reveals a feisty, dynamic character surrounded by well-rounded characters just as appealing as she is. The plot moves swiftly, and it's refreshing that the story's focus is less on Ellie's disability and more on her gradual ability to learn how to ‘roll with’ the situations that life throws one's way.” — Booklist, starred review
“A heartfelt and humorous glimpse into the life of a girl with cerebral palsy who is determined to make her mark on a world that often perceives her as limited because of her disability. . . . The challenges faced by youth like Ellie are underrepresented in children’s literature; highly recommended for middle grade collections.” — School Library Journal
“Sumner, whose son has cerebral palsy, writes Ellie without sitcom clichés and with authentic near-teen sass. The telling details of wheelchair use, health risks, and social challenges ring true but don’t overshadow the characterization of Ellie as a person, who loves to bake even more than she likes to snark and whose narration is spirited and inviting. Fans of Kate DiCamillo will especially appreciate this story of unexpected friendship and belonging.” — BCCB