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From The Desk Of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

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304 pages

Suggested age 8 to 12 years old

An Amazon Best Book of the Month * #1 Kids Indie Next List * A Junior Library Guild Selection * Four Starred Reviews *

From debut author Janae Marks comes a captivating mystery full of heart, as one courageous girl questions assumptions, searches for the truth, and does what she believes is right—even in the face of great opposition. A perfect book for fans of Front Desk and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook!

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?

A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.


REVIEWS

“This powerful debut packs both depth and sweetness, tackling a tough topic in a sensitive, compelling way. An extraordinary, timely, must-read debut about love, family, friendship, and justice.” - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This exceptionally sweet debut from Marks illustrates profound cracks in the American criminal justice system while telling an affecting story grounded in the middle-grade experience. The troubling ways race affects the characters…will facilitate important conversations about racial profiling and incarceration rates for people of color. Fortunately, Marks’ capable storytelling and engaging characters also combine into a wondrous confection of a book, full of heart and hope and promise.” - Booklist (starred review)

"Debut author Marks seamlessly weaves timely discussions about institutionalized racism into this uplifting and engaging story that packs an emotional punch." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A smart, necessary, and hopeful middle-grade debut that expertly balances a gentle, heartwarming tone with searing insight into systemic racism.” - School Library Journal (starred review)

“Marks delivers a spirited central character whose determination to get to the truth is admirable. An involving family story, this novel could also serve as an introduction to social justice for elementary schoolers." - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"Never heavy-handed, Marks’ prose is as sweet as one of Zoe’s confections. And as the icing on the cake, From the Desk of Zoe Washington, imparts important lessons about judging other people, whether by the color of their skin or by their presumed guilt or innocence." - BookPage

PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books (January 14, 2020)

FORMAT: Hardcover