So B. It
by Sarah Weeks was a William Allen White Award winner in 2007. Twelve-year-old Heidi has had a rough life by any standards. Heidi’s mother is profoundly mentally disabled and unable to care for herself or Heidi. Heidi’s agoraphobic neighbor Bernadette has taken care of both of them since they showed up shortly after Heidi’s birth. Heidi’s life is very limited by their mental disabilities, but Heidi is determined to find a better life for herself. When she finds some old family photos of her mother, Heidi is determined to find out more. Heidi’s mother can’t answer her questions, so Heidi sets out alone to the nursing home where her mother gave birth. Few of us would be so courageous and positive when raised with so little hope. The answers Heidi finds aren’t easy, and the ending isn’t neat, but that’s the way life is.
(Incidentally, books from the public library help keep Bernadette and Heidi in touch with the outside world.)