Jupiter is used to being a planet of one, and she likes it that way. But then a cousin, who Jupiter never even knew existed, comes from Ethiopia to stay for the summer, and Jupiter is put in charge of taking care of her. A lyrical and memorable story of family, friendship, and community--perfect for fans of Katherine Hannigan's Ida B and Holly Goldberg Sloan's Counting by 7s.
Jupiter and her family have spent their lives on the road, moving from town to town in a trusty old van and earning their living by playing music for tourists. But when their van breaks down, Jupiter's mother rents an actual house in Portland for the summer so Jupiter's annoying cousin Edom, recently adopted from Ethiopia, can stay with them. Luckily, Edom doesn't want to be in Portland any more than Jupiter wants her there, and the two hatch a Grand Plan to send Edom back to her mother. In the process, Jupiter learns that community and family aren't always what you expect them to be.
A sweet, genuine story with themes of community, immigration, finances, family, and taking care of the environment that will appeal to fans of Cynthia Lord and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.
About the Author
Jane Kurtz was born in Portland, Oregon, but when she was two years old, her parents decided to move to Ethiopia, where she spent most of her childhood. Jane speaks about being an author at schools and conferences--in all but eleven of the United States, so far, and such places as Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, France, Germany, Romania, England, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Japan. She helped start Ethiopia Reads (EthiopiaReads.org), a nonprofit that has opened the first libraries for children in Ethiopia. She is the author of many books for children, including What Do They Do with All that Poo? illustrated by Allison Black, Do Kangaroos Wear Seat Belts? illustrated by Jane Manning, Anna Was Here, and the American Girl book Lanie.
"United in their determination to leave Portland, [Jupiter and Edom] hatch plans to earn money for bus tickets even as, despite themselves, they put down tentative roots...The vivid characters and fascinating urban village they inhabit . . . hold readers' interest throughout. A solid middle-grade family story." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Playful yet introspective...Kurtz subtly conveys the girls' underlying fears of abandonment, as well as the idiosyncratic but determined efforts of Jupiter's mother and her friend Topher to provide a "forever family" for the children. A host of quirky and appealing characters rounds out this engaging, empathetic story." -- Publishers Weekly
"Fifth-grader Jupiter and her family are free spirits...Jupiter has a fresh voice that extols being unburdened, even as the story shows her that sometimes adding is better than subtracting." -- Booklist
"An offbeat look at an appealingly unorthodox lifestyle, and kids may find Jupiter diverting company." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books