Crossing the Tracks

Crossing the Tracks

For Ages: 12 and up
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At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts—no home, no family, no plan. Her mother died when she was six, and her selfish father hires her out as a companion to a country doctor’s elderly mother. Iris, stuck in the middle of 1920s rural Missouri, discovers that "hobo" is short for "homeward bound," and cultivates an eccentric cast of folks into family, creating the home she never had. But when she learns that a neighboring tenant farmer may have had more than his hands on his pregnant daughter, Iris must intervene to save the girl and her unborn baby.

The many facets of what makes a family are illuminated with warmth and charm in this beautifully crafted tale.
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  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416997054 | 
  • July 2010 | 
  • Grades 7 and up | 
  • Lexile 680
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Stuck in 1920’s rural Missouri as a housekeeper, Iris cultivates an eccentric cast of folks into the family she never had and opens herself to love.

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APRIL 1926

I pull my hand from our mailbox, the letter bent in my fingers, my mind reeling. An official letter for Daddy from a doctor. A bud of panic starts to grow in me.

My father is sick.

I drift up our endless front walk, turn a slow circle on the porch before I open the front door. Up and down our street is empty and deathly still, like my heart.

I slide the letter under the mail-order catalogs on his desk and sit on the edge of the divan. He went to a doctor in another town to protect me from the bad news, to avoid the Atchison party line, the gossip. The gaping black... see more

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