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Take Me with You

Review

Take Me with You

Best friends Susanna and Pina have spent most of their young lives at a Catholic orphanage in Naples, Italy. They are among the many unwanted and orphaned girls who were left there following the horrors of World War II. They know nothing about their origins or family roots, and have no idea who their parents are or if they’re even still alive. The nuns running the orphanage do suspect that Susanna’s father was an African American in the military due to her dark skin. Pina is blond, light-skinned, and has blue eyes, but that difference doesn’t matter to them. Both dream and pray of being adopted and having a real family to love. 

The girls then each receive some shocking news. An American sends a letter asking about Susanna, who he thinks may be his daughter. Susanna is thrilled and terrified at the same time, and burning with questions. Why did he take so long to find her? Who is her mother, and what happened to her? Will he take her with him to make a family? But if he does, then she would have to leave Pina.

Meanwhile, Susanna overhears the nuns talking, and it turns out that Pina has a mother living in the city. Questions plague her as well. If her mother is alive, why is Pina in an orphanage? Doesn’t she love her? Who is her father? The best friends decide to help each other find their path to their families and fulfill their dreams of being loved.

Carolyn Marsden has written quite a few books for young people and has won her fair share of awards. TAKE ME WITH YOU, a captivating story with a solid core, is sure to be another winner. Marsden excels at beautiful yet simple descriptions that really capture her ideas perfectly (“She struggled to sort through her feelings, but they were as tangled as the noodles in a pot of spaghetti.”). She hones in on a universal theme in the book, one felt by most every creature on this planet --- the need to be loved. Her divulging of life in a Catholic orphanage following WWII will interest many young readers, and she adds a bit of flavor with the Italian culture, even including some Italian words with a glossary at the end for definitions.

TAKE ME WITH YOU is a lovely and charming story that is not to be missed.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on March 23, 2010

Take Me with You
by Carolyn Marsden

  • Publication Date: March 23, 2010
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763637394
  • ISBN-13: 9780763637392