Remembering Mrs. Rossi

by Amy Hest and Heather Maione

“Nobody, absolutely nobody, expected Mrs. Rossi to die.” But Mrs. Rossi... read more

“Nobody, absolutely nobody, expected Mrs. Rossi to die.” But Mrs. Rossi did die, and her eight-year-old daughter, Annie, and Annie’s daddy are learning how to live without her. Mrs. Rossi’s sixth-grade students have made a book for Annie and her dad about Mrs. Rossi, and Annie turns to it again and again in the months after her mother dies. During that time, there are wonderful things that happen, like going to work with Daddy on a snow day, and awful things, too, like trying to make Daddy’s birthday special and getting mad at him instead. Amy Hest’s authentic, engaging story is about loss but also about living, and wanting a dog, and loving (mostly) third grade, and more. Hest’s storytelling stays true to a child’s experience, which means Annie’s emotions are intense but often short-lived. Her sadness or anger sometimes takes her by surprise, but so, too, does delight. Hest ends her novel with the collective work of Mrs. Rossi’s sixth-grade students—the book they made for Annie and her dad (and also, of course, themselves), and these, too, ring with honesty, expressing a range of feelings as they share memories and anecdotes that reveal much about the teacher they (mostly) loved, as well as their own lives. (Ages 8–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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