The Warden's Daughter (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

With books such as Newbery Award winner Maniac Magee, Wringer, Loser, Stargirl, and many others, Jerry Spinelli writes the voices of children who don't quite fit a social mold. He writes fluidly and with a talent for dialog which makes his characters' personal tension seem real. In The Warden's Daughter, twelve-year-old Cammie is one of these desperate characters. She is permanently linked with tragedy as a baby, and she becomes an angry girl who can't resolve what happened to her mother. Although she has a loving father, who happens to run a small prison where they live, and friends she's starting to believe are true, Cammie wants a mother; and her only candidates are both women inmates. The story is told by the adult Cammie, looking back from years in the future, and the turns her young life takes are sometimes shocking, and always profound. Another important book from Spinelli!

— Tim McCarthy


From Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee, Stargirl) comes the "moving and memorable" (Kirkus Reviews, starred) story of a girl searching for happiness inside the walls of a prison.

Cammie O'Reilly lives at the Hancock County Prison--not as a prisoner, she's the warden's daughter. She spends the mornings hanging out with shoplifters and reformed arsonists in the women's excercise yard, which gives Cammie a certain cache with her school friends.

But even though Cammie's free to leave the prison, she's still stuck. And sad, and really mad. Her mother died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. You wouldn't think you could miss something you never had, but on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, the thing Cammie most wants is a mom. A prison might not be the best place to search for a mother, but Cammie is determined and she's willing to work with what she's got.

"Jerry Spinelli again proves why he's the king of storytellers" (Shelf Awarenss, starred) in this tale of a girl who learns that heroes can come in surprising disguises, and that even if we don't always get what we want, sometimes we really do get what we need.

"This book is never boring and never predictable. Fame, good and bad fortune, friendship and mental illness all make their way into Cammie's] narrative."--The New York Times Book Review

Praise for the works of Jerry Spinelli:

"Spinelli is a poet of the prepubescent. . . . No writer guides his young characters, and his readers, past these pitfalls and challenges and toward their futures with more compassion." --The New York Times

"It's almost unreal how much the children's book still resonates." on Maniac Magee

About the Author

JERRY SPINELLI is the author of many novels for young readers, including Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Milkweed; Hokey Pokey; Crash; Wringer; and Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; along with Knots in My Yo-Yo String, the autobiography of his childhood. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780375831997
ISBN-10: 0375831991
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2017
Pages: 352
Language: English