Woolwich author Jennifer Richard Jacobson’s new middle-grade novel “The Dollar Kids” explores 12-year-old Lowen Grover’s life in a depressed former factory town. The budding comic book artist and his struggling family moves to Millville, where they have purchased a house for a dollar.

Novel follows middle-schooler to a struggling mill town

PORTLAND — From Woolwich author Jennifer Richard Jacobson, who wrote the award-winning “Small as an Elephant” and “Paper Things,” comes “The Dollar Kids,” a heart-tugging novel for 10- to 14-year-olds about guilt and grief, family and friendship and, above all, community.

The story is illustrated by the prize-winning comic book artist Ryan Andrews, who lives in Fukuoka, Japan.

“The Dollar Kids” (Candlewick, $17.99) was released in August and will be presented at the Briar Patch bookstore in Bangor at 4 p.m. on Sept. 6.

“The Dollar Kids” — inspired by both the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the struggle of the mill towns near the author’s family cabin near Mount Katahdin — traces the story of 12-year-old Lowen Grover, a budding comic-book artist still reeling from the shooting death of his friend Abe, when he stumbles across an article about the “Dollar Program” and a former mill town giving away homes for just one dollar.

After resettling in hopes of reinventing themselves, the Grovers find some townsfolk cling to the notion that things will go back to the way they used to be. Both have to rise above their indignations.

Publisher’s Weekly writes, “Jacobson memorably sketches Lowen’s family dynamics, particularly his complicated relationship with his older brother, and his journey offers a compelling portrait of community and rebirth.”

Kirkus Reviews calls the book, “A rich, thoughtful exploration of individual and community resilience.”

Jennifer Richard Jacobson is a writer, teacher, educational consultant, and speaker. She writes for many ages, from children’s picture books to adult nonfiction. She is three-time Maine Library Association Lupine Award winner, For more information about her visit http://www.jenniferjacobson.com.

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