From the Desk of Zoe Washington
With equal parts mystery and heart, this middle grade debut by Janae Marks follows Zoe Washington after she receives an unexpected letter on her twelfth birthday from the incarcerated father she’s never met and her courageous journey to uncover the truth about his crime.
Perfect for fans of Front Desk and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook! Now in paperback.
Dear Marcus . . .
Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write next. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed.
Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe’s determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters from her mom and stepdad. Everyone thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge. It’s Zoe’s dream to become a star baker, and she can’t afford to mess anything up. But with bakery confections on one part of her mind and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies. Debut author Janae Marks follows one courageous girl as she searches for the truth and does what she believes is right, even in the face of great opposition.
“How could someone innocent end up in prison? With the help of her grandmother and her friend Trevor, Zoe begins to learn about systemic racism and how black people…are more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than white people. This powerful debut packs both depth and sweetness, tackling a tough topic in a sensitive, compelling way. An extraordinary, timely, must-read debut about love, family, friendship, and justice.” -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This exceptionally sweet debut from Marks illustrates profound cracks in the American criminal justice system while telling an affecting story grounded in the middle-grade experience. The troubling ways race affects the characters…will facilitate important conversations about racial profiling and incarceration rates for people of color. Fortunately, Marks’ capable storytelling and engaging characters also combine into a wondrous confection of a book, full of heart and hope and promise.” -Booklist (starred review)
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