42 Miles

by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

A distance of forty-two miles is what JoEllen travels each week between her mom’s... read more

A distance of forty-two miles is what JoEllen travels each week between her mom’s house in downtown Cincinatti and her dad’s farmhouse outside of the city. It’s not just the commute between households that’s wearing on twelve-year-old JoEllen, but also the fracturing she feels in her identity. At her dad’s house, she’s called Joey and spends her time fishing and riding horses with her cousin Hayden. With mom, she goes by Ellen and giggles with her girlfriends about school, hobbies, and future dreams. As her thirteenth birthday approaches, JoEllen decides, “My two lives / are going to meet /and shake hands. I’m going to have: / one celebration / one cake / and one song, / with all my favorite voices / singing together.” Spare poems accented with whimsical scrapbook-style collages tell the journey of a young teen who wants to her life to be whole rather than disparate parts. (Ages 10–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

show less