Portia’s Incredible Journey
by Emma L. Price
ELP Books

"Life’s a succession of storms that makes us grow stronger."

When Portia Maddox was in fourth grade, a school nurse advised her parents to have her tested for diabetes. That fateful day marked the beginning of a series of life-changing challenges for Portia, including her difficulty accepting that she must learn to give herself insulin shots. With the help of her cousin Sarah and Grandma Ruth, Portia finally masters her management of diabetes (though not without a wake-up call in the form of a life-threatening accident). While at camp, Portia even manages to befriend a bully, but an even greater challenge is looming: the possibility of her parents’ divorce.

The language is simple enough to accommodate young readers, but despite this, Price does an excellent job showing the evolution of her characters over time. When the reader first meets Portia, she is impatient and inflexible. Throughout the story, Portia is influenced by the people around her and by her experiences. She takes several leaps of faith and realizes she is stronger and more courageous than she thought she was. She also realizes that school bullies don’t necessarily want to act out, but they need someone else to show them how to change.

The author’s depiction of Portia’s coming of age is life-like and engaging. Ultimately, this story has a happy ending, as Portia discovers that her fears about her parents’ relationship have a surprising twist. In the end, Portia heads off for another exciting, albeit nerve-wracking, adventure. Although happy endings are rarer in real life than they are in fiction, Price’s tale is still a realistic portrayal of the many types of storms people must weather, both actual and figurative.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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