Our daughter Meredith has been student teaching in Florida since January, so tomorrow afternoon, the Lovely Mrs. Prosser and I will board a plane bound for Orlando. She's had a great experience, and has learned she loves living in the sunshine and not the snow which made her decision to apply for jobs in the Sarasota area a pretty easy one. Hopefully something will work out for her, she's very good at what she does and the student teaching experience has reignited her passion for teaching, the job I believe she was born to do.
Before leaving I wanted to finish When Cynthia visited Bailey a year or so ago, she shared the beginnings of this book. She told us about a photo scavenger hunt contest that a character named Lucy wants to enter. The problem is that her father, a famous nature photographer, is the judge and she isn't sure it would be ethical. Cynthia Lord's new book, Half a Chance.
Just after moving to a lake in New Hampshire, Lucy's dad leaves to do some work in Arizona leaving her to collect the package containing all of the entrants for the contest. She meets the family next door and gets involve in the loon patrol, keeping track of the loons nesting on the lake. She becomes especially close to Nate Bailey and the two of them begin work on the scavenger hunt together as they become friends.
Lucy learns that the Bailey family has summered on the lake for years, and Nate's grandma Lilah has always been there, spending the whole summer and hosting the family visits throughout the summer. This summer, however, is different. Grandma Lilah is having some memory difficulty that seems to be getting worse and causing the family alarm. They decide they will all spend the whole summer at the lake with Grandma Lilah so she can have one last memorable summer. Mostly its good, but occasionally Grandma Lilah lapses into a panic or depression because she can't do all of the things she is used to doing on the lake. Nate, Lucy and the Bailey family do all they can to make the summer seem as normal as possible, trying to make sure Grandma has a summer to remember.
Again Cynthia Lord handles an issue facing many families in a sensitive, delicate and honest way. When she visited Bailey I don't remember hearing that this book would deal with aging and dementia, but it does. Half a Chance is a touching book and the ending is perfect. For many of us it may hit close to home and will be a great read for 4th and 5th graders.