Children's K. A. Nuzum The Leanin' Dog

ISBN 13: 9780061139369

The Leanin' Dog

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9780061139369: The Leanin' Dog

More than anything, Dessa Dean needed a friend. A friend with whom she could share her heart. Then there came a scratchin’ at the door and Dessa Dean’s life was forever changed. This is the story of a girl, a dog, and the friendship that saves them both.

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About the Author:

K. A. Nuzum, the author of A Small White Scar, had an early career as a ballroom dancer before earning her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She is the leader of a pack of five dogs, one husband, and two sons on a small farm in eastern Colorado.

From School Library Journal:

Starred Review. Grade 4–7—Dessa Dean, 11, was a powerless witness as her diabetic mother froze to death when they were caught in an early-winter storm. Since then, she and her father have gone through the motions of normalcy, with him going out daily to check the traps while she stays behind to do the schoolwork he prepares and to fix their meager dinner. But things are not normal: Dessa Dean frequently relives the horror of her mother's death, and she is unable to make herself venture beyond the steps of their isolated Colorado cabin. The week before Christmas, though, an injured dog comes sniffing around. Dessa Dean's initial attempts to befriend it fail: the jittery animal has apparently been abused and keeps her distance. Repeated efforts pay off, but even when the dog allows Dessa Dean to approach her, she remains on edge around the girl's father. As another storm nears, he is having no success with his hunting forays and has little patience for a dog that will only stay inside when the door is open to the frigid air. Dessa Dean is caught between her growing feelings for the animal and her father's concern over their basic survival. This story of an agoraphobic girl and a claustrophobic dog and how they slowly move one another toward hope could have been maudlin, but Nuzum's pacing and spare, poetic narrative create something quite wonderful. The novel will draw comparisons to Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie (Candlewick, 2000), but it is certainly not a Winn-Dixie wannabe. This is a beautiful story in which friendship and the power of being needed trump despair.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
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