This author can write and has a Newbery Medal to prove it. She quickly draws us into this historical Middle Grade tale about feisty Joan Skaggs, 14, a girl whose mother has died leaving her with a father who believes in nothing but hard work. Joan must quit school, can’t attend church, and has no friends. When her father burns her beloved books, she runs away, ending up in Baltimore where she is fortunately found by Solomon Rosenbach, a good man from a wealthy Jewish family. Solomon’s mother agrees to hire her as a maid providing she can get along with their housekeeper, cranky old Malka. No stranger to hard work, Joan quickly makes herself indispensable. As she observes the family’s religious traditions, she’s prompted to attend mass herself, but finds the prejudice she encounters toward Jews confusing. Matters come to a head when the family’s charming, flirtatious son David appears and Joan falls in love. This book explores the differences between social classes and religions in 1911 through the eyes of a quirky yet lovable character who won’t be cowed. A thought-provoking read for all ages.