Twelve-year-old Ellen learns the quiet strength of family when her mother’s deep depression prompts her to ask an estranged aunt for help.
Ellen’s mother has struggled with depression before, but not like this. With her father away fighting in World War II and her mother unable to care for them, Ellen’s only option is to reach out to her cold, distant aunt Pearl. Soon enough, city-dwelling Ellen and her mother are shepherded off to the countryside to Aunt Pearl’s home, a tidy white cottage at the base of Snowden Mountain. Adjusting to life in a small town is no easy thing: the school has one room, one of her classmates smells of skunks, and members of the community seem to whisper about Ellen’s family. But even as she worries that depression is a family curse to which she’ll inevitably succumb, Ellen slowly begins to carve out a space for herself and her mother on Snowden Mountain in this thoughtful, heartfelt middle-grade novel from Jeri Watts.
Deeply affecting, On Snowden Mountain powerfully depicts how positive human connectedness can transform generations, even whole communities. Jeri Watts has built a world, embedded in a mountain and embraced by a river, that does not retreat from adversity, but rather welcomes and transforms suffering into hope and growth. —Gigi Amateau, author of Chancey: Horses of the Maury River Stables
Through a realistically complex character whose growth is organic and well-wrought, Watts (A Piece of Home) offers an unsparing look at the impact of depression, as well as the ways that human connection can change lives. —Publishers Weekly
In this beautifully and honestly written work of historical fiction, 12-year-old Ellen Hollingsworth learns about mental illness, abuse, community, and family while navigating a time of war…This book is perfect for someone dealing with any of the issues tackled here, for lovers of historical fiction, and for anyone who simply loves a well-crafted tale. This book should be included in every school library, even high school, and in classroom libraries from grades four and up! —School Library Connection
Students who have personal experience with depression themselves or with loved ones will appreciate Watt’s subtle depiction and the patience with which it is handled in the story. An important book that has the ability to dispel misunderstandings about mental illness; recommended for all middle grade readers. —School Library Journal