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 acclaimed author of many novels for young readers. She has a master of fine arts in writing for children from Vermont College and lives in La Jolla, California.