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The Golden Day | September 11, 2013

by Ursula Dubosarsky (Candlewick, July 2013)

As the exquisite cover indicates, there is something very special about Ursula Dubosarsky’s The Golden Day. It’s an elegant little novel, gorgeous in its depiction of aging and loss of innocence. The year is 1967, and 11 Australian schoolgirls (Cubby, Icara, Martine, Bethany, Georgina, Cynthia, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, and silent Deirdre) are taken on a field trip to a nearby garden to “think about death”. But idealistic Miss Renshaw disappears on the field trip, and, mystified, the girls return to school without her, bound to her promise to keep everything a secret. What happened to Miss Renshaw? And who can they tell?

The girls’ communal silence in the face of increasingly desperate adults is bewitching; their rationale both selfish – to avoid trouble – and steadfast – the aforementioned promise always on their minds. Told mainly from Cubby’s perspective, Dubosarsky captures the spirit of all eleven girls and makes the simplest observations both poetic and terrifying. If you’re wanting for quality literature in your life, read this now.

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