Monday, April 09, 2007
Remembering Mrs. Rossi
Hest, Amy. 2007. Remembering Mrs. Rossi.
Annie Rossi may seem like your average eight-year-old, but she has to cope with more-than-average problems when her mother becomes sick and dies suddenly. Now Annie and her father are coming together as a family. Learning to do things together. To rely on one another. To trust one another. It’s not always easy. Sometimes she feels her father is “mean” or “unfair.” And sometimes she’s angry that her mother is gone and she can’t be a “normal” girl. Sometimes she breaks into tears and can’t help it. But no matter what she is never alone.
What helps this family in its time of grief, is a small gift from a class of sixth-grade students. Mrs. Rossi was a sixth-grade teacher. And her students write a book--with a help of their substitute teacher--to honor her memory and pay respects to her family. This book “Remembering Mrs. Rossi” becomes a security-blanket of sorts for the pair.
Slowly and together, Annie and her father turn the pages of their book. When they get to the end, they go back to page one and start again (27).
Once she wrote a letter to the authors in Room 222, all twenty-four. The letter was her father’s idea, but she did all the work--including lots of pictures by Annie.
“Thank you for making a book about Remembering Mrs. Rossi. It’s my favorite book, and you are my favorite authors. Guess how many times I’ve read my book? Answer: one million. Okay. This is true. A book about your mother makes you feel cozy as cocoa inside. Okay, this is funny. One time I was reading RMR in the bathtub, and it almost fell in! I never did that again. Guess which is my FAVORITE page? Answer: ALL of them! This is secret. Sometimes late at night, my father thinks I’m sleeping, but I’m not! I am reading Remembering Mrs. Rossi. I read and read. It’s like giving my mother a kiss good-night. And she is giving me a big kiss too.” (53-54).
The book ends with a presentation of the book Remembering Mrs. Rossi. The reader finally gets a chance to read this work-of-art by the students that memorializes this beloved mother, teacher, and wife.
The relationship between father and daughter is well-developed...and the story is both touching and realistic.
Stories to Tell by Amy Hest