Reading books together as a family is a great way to bond with each other and have fun. Instead of having a movie night, have a night together where you share a new story and read together. The Warden’s Daughter would be a book that your entire family could enjoy together but is more age appropriate for upper elementary.
Living at a prison would provide for a strange childhood but Cammie O’Reilly spends her time around the prison and has even gotten to know some of the female inmates personally. When she was just a baby, Cammie lost her mother in an accident where her mother saved her life. This story shows Cammie going through a transformation into a preteen with only having a father. Cammie does have some adult female influence in her life in the form of the inmates and one in particular looks after her on a daily basis. She tries to get attached and tries to form a motherly bond with her nanny but it does not turn out the way she wants it to. A girl needs a mother figure in her life and Cammie has tried desperately to fill that void in her life with sometimes disastrous outcomes.
This story has humor, emotion, and is unlike any story I have ever read. I grew to love Cammie very early into the book and was intrigued by her story of growing up in a prison. You get to meet some of the inmates and they are all lively, likable characters that you want to learn more about. This coming of age novel was well-written and a story that I could not put down until I finished it. Being one of my favorite characters I’ve read about, Cammie provides the narration that will keep the reader wanting to learn more about the Hancock County Prison and meet more inamtes. I recommend this book to fans of Jerry Spinelli’s other works and for families who enjoy reading chapter books together. This book, and the audiobook, are available in the children’s department.