Hopes of adoption test the friendship of two girls — one biracial — in a lyrical novel touching on themes of identity and the meaning of home.
Pina and Susanna. Susanna and Pina. For as long as they’ve lived at the Istituto di Gesù Bambino — a home for babies abandoned after the War — they have been best friends. As children, they played rag dolls under the watchful eyes of the nuns and hide-and-seek among the lemon trees on the rooftop terrazzo overlooking Naples. But now strangers are coming to the chiesa, couples hoping to adopt children. Susanna thinks Pina — pale, pretty Pina with her gleaming yellow braid — will be adopted at once. Susanna, on the other hand, is a mulatta. Her father was an American soldier, a nero. No Italian has hair or skin like hers. But when a surprise visitor comes to the istituto just to see Susanna, will the friends be separated after all? Or will a miracle make both of their dreams come true?
About the Author
Carolyn Marsden is the author of numerous books for younger readers. She has an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College and lives by the ocean in California, with her husband and two daughters.