Just Under the Clouds

Karen B. at Todolwen

Forthcoming from Knopf Books for Young Readers Summer 2018

A contemporary novel for middle grade readers about a homeless girl who lives a transient life with her mother and sister, hopping from couches, subway cars, and shelters, while searching for the safety and permanence she craves in the life of New York City’s plants and trees. 

To anyone else, Cora’s Tree Book probably looks like a leather-bound, jumble of pencil scratch. But to twelve-year-old Cora, it’s a long, moseying, walking path. It holds on to her Dad’s memory and follows her feet to all the meeting spots and homes she’s ever known. With her ‘born-special’ little sister hanging from her arm like a rag doll, she walks the tree-lined sidewalks of Brooklyn, climbs high, and draws the life of New York City’s trees in the book’s pages. It’s her way of staying.

Because staying is something Cora doesn’t know much about. Cora’s Mom has a habit of yanking her and her sister from place to place, between homeless shelters, friend’s couches, and one night, even a subway car. And, now, Cora’s settling in to yet another place her Mom’s itching to leave.

Along with the houseboat-dwelling Sabina, who may or may not be a new friend, and a little sister whose mysterious behavior she struggles to understand, she tries to find connections and patterns among every growing thing she’s ever seen and discovers that the key to putting down her roots may have been right in front of her the entire time.