Written By Mari Evans
Corinne has changed, and Annie, her best friend, is alarmed. Corinne has become withdrawn. She doesn't visit Annie anymore, and she doesn't want Annie to visit her. She doesn't even want to talk. What has happened? Frustrated by her friend's reluctance to communicate, Annie begins to send Corinne letters. "Dear Corinne," she writes, "you're hiding somewhere inside yourself, and I can't find you. . . . I'm sorry, because I'm your friend, and I love you anyhow." Corinne responds with letters of her own, but at first they don't reveal much. Annie doesn't give up. Slowly she encourages her friend to reveal her frightening secret. Now Annie must convince Corinne to tell someone who can help.
Celebrated black writer, educator, and activist Mari Evans has created a touching story about true friendship and the devastating effects of child abuse. It shines a spotlight on a topic of major concern in our country and will provoke conversations in the classroom and around the dinner table.
Reading Level: Ages 9-12: Paperback: 47 Pages
Annie is worried. Her friend Corinne suddenly becomes withdrawn and sad, and she won't talk about what is wrong. In a series of loving messages-printed on what appears to be notebook paper-Annie urges her friend to talk with her, tries to figure out what is going on, and finally reports on the advice she's garnered from the school nurse and her own wise mama. At this point, Ms. Price, the nurse, takes over the narrative; she sends Corinne more official-looking notes encouraging her to tell the secret she has been holding onto and educating her about child abuse. In the end, readers see Corinne's cheerful notes to Annie when the awful truth is finally revealed. The purpose of this short epistolary novel is clear from the title: to encourage abused children to get help. The emotional conflicts, uncertain outcomes, and long-range effects of sexual and other forms of abuse are not explored here, nor is there any depiction or description of the abuse itself. What makes this book more than its message is Annie's voice. In the cadences of contemporary African-American speech, the child expresses the concerns of young girls everywhere as she worries about this important friendship and struggles to understand and then help someone she cares about through a difficult time. School Library Journal