One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin
The story takes place over the course of a day and a half on Orange Street. The children on the block have made the vacant lot with the Valencia orange tree their special place to hang out. One morning an orange cone has appeared in front of the lot. They ponder on the meaning of it. Each child begins to share their own story about their personal conflicts. One child’s parents are separated, one’s little brother is sick, one is scare every time her mother leaves for business that she won’t come back, and one is upset about a new sibling on the way. Then there is the story of the longest living resident of Orange Street, the Valencia tree itself, and Ms. Ethel Finneymaker (a.k.a. Ms. Snoops) the second longest living resident. Ms. Snoops grew up on the street and knows the history of neighborhood. The children go to her for advice and are very patient with her as she is starting to lose her memory. A mysterious man arrives one day on Orange Street and the children try to find out who he is and why he’s there. Joanne Rocklin’s masterful novel skillfully builds a story about family, childhood anxieties, and the importance of connection. Not only does the story move among the characters, but it goes back in time to the Great Depression and the Vietnam War. The story centers around the typical pains of growing up and changing friendships. There is one thing that every person on the street has in common, and that’s the orange tree that stands alone in the empty lot. The tree is the one constant, never-changing element in their lives. Under that orange tree, friendship is rediscovered, compassion for others is expressed, and the children learn to stand up for what they believe in, and find hope in the future.