Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind
By Valerie Hobbs
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374324964, 224pp.)
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
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Minnie McClary is the new girl and knows that she doesn't quite fit in, especially not after she lost it one day in language arts. In art, Minnie has to paint a self portrait--but how can she do this when she doesn't even know who she is anymore? Things aren't great at home, either. Her uncle Bill is building a huge replica of the Apache helicopter he flew in Iraq, and her father has blown some sort of whistle and has to start over in a new job.
Then Miss Marks takes over Minnie's language class and encourages students to think critically about everything. They write their thoughts and questions in journals, marking the most private entries For Your Eyes Only. Minnie and her classmate Amira are inspired, but some people in town wonder why Miss Marks is encouraging students to ask these questions and just what, exactly, she's teaching. When a group of angry parents demands Miss Marks's suspension, Minnie finds herself asking a lot of questions--and figuring out what she has the power to change.
Valerie Hobbs is the recipient of the 1999 PEN/Norma Klein Award, a biennial prize that recognizes "an emerging voice of literary merit among American writers of children's fiction." She is the author of young adult and middle-grade novels including Sheep, Defiance, Anything but Ordinary, and The Last Best Days of Summer. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she has taught academic writing. Valerie lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband.