Praying to A.L. by Judith Caseley

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People don't just up and die in the middle of the kitchen ... in the middle of lunch ... in the middle of their lives, do they? Sierra's father does, and suddenly life is blurred and unreal. Her five-year-old brother seems more concerned about what he's having for breakfast, and though Mama's trying hard, she's lost in her own sorrow. No amount of sympathy from Aunt Rose, Tia Claudia, or the. rest of Sierra's well-meaning Jewish Cuban extended family can bring the focus back.

But there is the junk-shop portrait of Abraham Lincoln--Sierra's historical idol--that had been one of Papa's "finds." With A. L.'s kind eyes and craggy, melancholy face staring out from the frame, it's as if he is Sierra's confidant, listening to what she longs to say so she can let Papa go ... and let her family back in.

Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL)
Children's Books 2000-NY Public Lib.


About Judith Caseley

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Judith Caseley says, "When I was a little girl, I fell in love with Abraham Lincoln. I was drawn to the kindness and melancholy I saw in his face. My sister Jean and I prayed to a framed portrait of him that hung on our bedroom wall. To this day, when I see Lincoln's likeness on the wall of a school auditorium, my heart lifts with gladness or my eyes fill with tears. I remember the fierce secrets we told him, the joys and sorrows that were for his ears only. It was a private act of communion, and we called him A. L." Judith Caseley is the author-artist of such favorite picture books as On the Town: A Community Adventure; Bully; Mama, Coming and Going; and Dear Annie. She lives on Long Island, New York, with her two children.
Published May 1, 2000 by Greenwillow Books. 192 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Her mother is moody, her brother seems not to notice anything has happened, and, though friends open up to Sierra with their memories of her dad, the 13-year-old can visit her own memories safely only by speaking to the photograph of Abraham Lincoln she keeps in her room.

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Publishers Weekly

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Caseley's (Starring Dorothy Kane) moving if uneven novel opens as a credibly limned, diverse group of relatives--Jewish on her father's side and Cuban on her mother's--gathers to mourn the death of Sierra Goodman's father.

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