All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Here's the one for right now," Big Ed says. "Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. Keep your head down. Get to know others before you reveal yourself."
As he crosses days off the calendar, eleven-year-old Perry T. Cook has taken Big Ed's wisdom to heart. Perry is determined to keep focused on his goal ever since the day he was taken from his mom and placed with a foster family. He misses the home he was raised in, even though that home is a prison.
As Perry works to be reunited with his mom, a homework project sparks a larger idea: tell the stories of the people he grew up with in the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility. But will these stories do more harm than good?
Despite tackling the tough issue of incarceration, Connor's novel is hopeful and heartfelt. Perry has seen his share of injustice. Separated from his mom, he is living it. But as he manages through the emotional rollercoaster of living on "the outside", he finds a way forward that is rooted in empathy and understanding. He understands that finding solutions means working with others.
From person to person, love, home, and family may look dramatically different, but they all feel the same.
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