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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Drawing with Whitman by Kristin McGlothlin is a coming of age children's story, and book one in the Sourland Mountain Series. Catalynd “Cat” Jewett Hamilton has her world turned upside down when a car accident forces her (and two broken, casted legs) into a wheelchair, and sends her mother spiraling into depression. As one person in their life leaves the property, another moves onto it—artist Benton Whitman, a descendant of literary great Walt Whitman. Using art as therapy, Cat works hard to pull together the demands of school and home and weave the frayed threads of the family back together once more.
Drawing with Whitman is a beautifully written, engrossing, and completely relevant novel that just hits the nail on the head in so many different ways. As a parent to a child who struggles with mental health issues, I found Kristin McGlothin's character Cat and the circumstances she's put into resonated a bit too closely. Like many children today, Cat has the weight of the world on her shoulders as well as the casts that burden her legs, and she becomes the ties that bind at an age when she really should not have to. The character of Benton is exceptional, as is the portrayal of Cat's fragile mother. For all the simplicity of the writing that a book aimed at middle-graders must have, the prose is excellent and all of the characters well developed. As a coming of age story, I believe this is a book that will leave a long-lasting impression. I look forward to reading about Cat's growth as the series progresses.