From the Desk of Zoe Washington

Book review by Barbara Saunders, Common Sense Media
From the Desk of Zoe Washington Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Girl works to clear her father of a crime in smart tale.

Parents say

age 8+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+

Based on 5 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 8+

Zoe, a girl who has goals for herself and knows how to go after them.

The story is a bit unrealistic but nevertheless I enjoyed every word. Here fairy tales do come true. 12 year old Zoe is a remarkable 12 year old. She knows what she wants and goes after it head long! On her 12th birthday, she receives a surprising piece of mail postmarked from a prison. It is from her incarcerated father, (Marcus), whom she’s never met. He was sent to prison for murder just before Zoe was born. And as you may guess her mother wants her to have nothing to do with him. Zoe has two goals... one is to prove her father’s innocence and two, as an aspiring pastry chef, she sets her sights on perfecting her baking skills. She plans to audition as a contestant on Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge. After receiving the letter from her father, Zoe does something she has never done before, she begins Withholding the truth from her mother in order to correspond with her biological father. As it always does, and one lie leads to another and another. In the letters Marcus shares his favorite songs and encourages Zoe’s baking-competition dreams. “He seems really nice!” Then, when Marcus proclaims he is innocent, Zoe is shocked: How could someone who is innocent end up in prison? This was a realistic reaction for a 12 year old. Somehow Zoe has convinced her grandmother, (her mother’s mother), to help carry on the secret correspondence with her father. She even arranges phone communication between Zoe and Marcus. As Zoe’s enlightenment begins, she learns about systemic racism and how black people like her and Marcus are more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than white people. There are some well developed and powerful relationships among all the characters: Zoe, her mother, her step dad, grandma, Marcus, and best friend Trevor. This debut novel is extraordinary, timely, and a must-read story about love, family, friendship, and justice. (Fiction. 8-12)

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Book Details

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