What I Carry by Jennifer Longo is yet another 2023 high school Nutmeg nominee (I’m almost halfway through them!). This was a moving, uplifting read about Muir’s final year in foster care before she ages out.
She has learned how to follow the rules and has kept herself from getting too attached by switching families regularly. Now she just needs to continue this pattern in one last placement before she turns eighteen. However, she begins building important relationships with a friend, boyfriend and her foster mother. Will she be able to turn away from everyone at the end of the year?
Through the chapters is a meaningful “unpacking” of items that represent different households Muir has lived in. Readers learn about her past, including her profound love for nature (due in part to her namesake John Muir), while also partaking in her new relationships.
I appreciated that this book handled important topic areas without explicit content. It was an uplifting book and reminded me of a grown up version of Pictures of Hollis Woods (a book I read with 7th graders years ago!).