One of the best things about being a children's librarian is discovering new (to me) children's authors. Barbara O'Connor popped up on my radar when Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia was a Sunshine State Reader for the school year 2005-2006. I checked it out one night after work, read it, and brought it back the next morning. In those few hours of a hasty reading, Ms. O'Connor won me over.
Barbara O'Connor has a clear, distinct, Southern voice. Her characters are quirky, funny, a bit tumble-down, rumpled and flawed, but with hearts as big as the state of South Carolina. I fell in love with Bird, the main character in Fame and Glory, about seven years ago when I first read this book, and all over again today when I re-read it.
Bird's story ends with a happy ending, but not a fairy tale ending. She is not a passive person. She is not a perfect person. She is, however, a perfect character; as, I suspect, is Ms. O'Connor.