Reading books together as a family is a great way to bond with each other and have fun. Instead of having a family movie night, have a night together where you share a new story and read together. The Warden’s Daughter is a book that your entire family can enjoy together but is more age-appropriate for upper elementary.
Growing up at a prison would make 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, there was an accident that resulted in the death of Cammie's mother. This story shows Cammie transform into a preteen with only having a father for guidance. Cammie does have some adult female influences in her life through the inmates and, one in particular looks after her on a daily basis. She tries to get attached and form a motherly bond with her nanny, but it does not turn out the way she desires. A girl needs a mother figure in her life and Cammie has tried desperately to fill that void, sometimes ending in disastrous outcomes.
This story has humor, heartbreak, and mystery. I grew to love Cammie early in 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 the last word. Cammie provides narration that will keep the reader wanting to learn more about the Hancock County Prison and meet every inmate. 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.