Fans of Laura Amy Schlitz are a patient bunch. We know that it takes time for her beautiful, unique, and complex stories to come into being. Happily, the wait is always worth it. Such is the case for The Hired Girl, out this fall from Candlewick Press. In the form of a diary, the entries are written by the only daughter of a hardscrabble Pennsylvanian widower farmer with four sons. Eager to read, write, learn, and gain knowledge of every sort, 14 year-old Joan Skraggs, when we first meet her, has a brutal life and it seems as if there will be no way out for her. Yet being resourceful and clever, Joan …well, you will need to read the book to find out what happens. As you would expect from Schlitz, the language is lush, full of vivid sensory details and emotional resonance. I was immersed in Joan’s 1911 experiences, anxiously following her through pain, happiness, despair, love, humor, knowledge, consideration of class, and serious contemplation of faith. Something you all have to look forward to this fall. Until then, here is the lovely cover. Thanks, Candlewick, for inviting me to do this (my first cover reveal!).