The Red Rose Box
By Brenda Woods
(Putnam Juvenile, Hardcover, 9780399237027, 144pp.)
Publication Date: May 27, 2002
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When Leah's aunt Olivia sends her a red rose box all the way from California for her tenth birthday, she and her younger sister Ruth can hardly imagine what could be inside. Living in dusty Sulphur, Louisiana, the arrival of the box, full of magical things-lipstick, nailpolish, and a 100% silk bedjacket-is about the most exciting thing that has ever happened to Leah and Ruth.
Aunt Olivia has also sent some train tickets for a trip to Los Angeles and freedom, far away from the Jim Crow laws that keep the Southern blacks down. Leah is enchanted by her rich aunt's lifestyle and the California culture. Like the treasures in the box, California is almost too good to be true. But when tragedy forces Leah and Ruth to make Los Angeles their permanent home, the girls are torn by longing for their roots.
Brenda Woods has written an evocative first novel about the importance of remembering your past, even as you move away from it.