A Drop of Hope

by Keith Calabrese

In Donnelly, Ohio, the town’s worn welcome sign reads “on ly,”... read more

In Donnelly, Ohio, the town’s worn welcome sign reads “on ly,” while the town’s nickname, as more and more factories close, is “if only.” Fifth-grader Ernest Wilmette’s family owns one of factories that’s still open. Ernest’s classmate, Ryan, has a dad who’s unemployed. The boys aren’t friends—Ernest doesn’t have any friends—but together they stumble on a cave beneath their town’s legendary wishing well and discover they can listen in on people’s wishes. The wishes are far from frivolous—e.g., an older sibling who’s been getting in trouble; a parent who’s out of work. Ernest’s grandfather recently died, but his final request of Ernest was to clean out the attic of his home. Ernest, white, becomes convinced that items he finds in the attic have the power to make people’s wishes come true. He also discovers a long ago mystery that’s never been solved—one he’s sure his grandfather wanted him to pursue. Soon Ryan, and Lizzy, the smartest kid in their class, are working with Ernest to investigate events of the past while hoping to help change lives in their town. Whether it’s fate and magic or a coincidence behind events taking place, one thing is certain: Kindness is the most powerful force of all in this satisfying tale. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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