Saturday, July 4, 2020

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks - ADVISABLE

From the Desk of Zoe Washington By Janae Marks 304 pages. Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins), 2020. $17

Language: G (0 swears 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: G



While looking through the mail on her birthday, 12yo Zoe finds a letter from her birth father, Marcus. Her birth father! She isn’t even allowed to talk about him, he is in prison - serving time for murder and Zoe has never met him. She has a photograph which she hides in her journal, but she keeps this letter secret from her mother and writes him back. He seems so nice. When her grandmother finds out she’s sent 2 letters and received 2, she agrees to help. Grandma has a hard time believing he is guilty - he was such a nice and responsible boy, and when Zoe asks him, he tells her he is innocent. Zoe doesn’t know if he’s lying - after all, he is in prison, so she decides to try to find out the truth herself. 

I loved Zoe’s attitude - the stares she receive getting out of a car with her white step-father that elicit loud “Hey Dads” made me laugh. Loved her library search of print sources where she found some great information. "From the Desk of Zoe Washington" is a great read; timely, age appropriate and thought provoking. The kids baking championship subplot will appeal to many readers as well, they will enjoy the recipes and also learn something about racial inequality.

Lisa Librarian

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