On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
by Barbara O'Connor
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
My word is CONVERGE. Each strand of this story is like one of those thin strips of plastic that we wove together into keychains once upon a time at summer camp. Every character's separate story converges with the others at the end. Each character's life becomes woven with the lives of the others at the end. Plus, converge sort of rhymes with Sherman, who is the one who brings everyone together. It also sort of rhymes with journey, which (although I was only supposed to pick one word) is my second pick for the one word that sums up this story.
Great question! Sherman is a homing pigeon. He is hardwired (supposedly) to fly away, and then fly home again. Maybe this is a story about all the amazing things that might happen when we act unpredictably, when we break out of our molds. Or maybe it's just a story about a pigeon who doesn't go home, and who unintentionally weaves a story out of all the lives he touches. Why did he go home? That's easy. Why do we all go home in the end? The ones who love us most are there.
Favorite character is hard in this one because I felt like I knew and loved every character by the end. But I think I loved Stella first. So I'll go with that as my answer if I have to pick a favorite. I liked Stella immediately. I liked that she was kind but tough. I liked that she so committed to that pigeon, no matter what that involved. I loved that she had the spunk to stand up to her brother and to take charge of almost everything. She is a tough girl with a soft heart.
And I want to pick another favorite. I loved Mr. Mineo. I loved how much he cared about the pigeons. I loved the way he talked to his dog. I loved the patience he had and how well he seemed to understand Sherman.
Greetings from Nowhere is one of my very favorite Barbara O'Connor books. I loved it immediately and read it aloud to my class the month it came out. I am a character-baesd reader and this book was character based. It was about many different people--every one of which I loved--who were on their own journey. But people who somehow connected when they needed each other most. I loved everything about this book and I see Mr. Mineo as being similar. There are differences--Greetings is a bit quieter of a book. But both books are about individual people trying to find their way, individual people who are on different journeys. But in both books, something connects these people in a way that changes each of them. And I love that. This idea probably is the idea in every one of Barbara O'Connor's books ( a reason I love her work:-) but these two stand out for me.