Zoe’s father, Marcus, has been in prison for as long as she can remember.
So, when Zoe receives a letter from Marcus on her twelfth birthday, she’s shocked to discover he’s been writing to her for years, and in his letters, he seems…nice. But that can’t be right – how can someone convicted of murder be nice?
As Zoe gets to know her father (against her mother’s will at that), she realizes that the world might not be so fair at all – her father pleaded “not guilty” to a crime his lawyer never even tried to prove he didn’t commit!
I wish we lived in a fairer world where only guilty people went to prison…but it’s best to focus on the here and now.
Janae Marks boldly takes on racism, social justice, and a failing judicial system.
Zoe is well aware of the rude looks she and her white step-dad get when they go out together and that sales clerks usually follow her mom around while they shop. Despite the tension between Zoe and her mother and her father’s wrongful conviction, Janae Marks does not write without hope. Yes, Zoe is dealing with multiple injustices, but she also loves baking with her family, inventing new dessert recipes, and hanging out with her best friend, Trevor (now that they’re not fighting anymore).
From the Desk of Zoe Washington is a story about forgiveness, justice,
and relentless hope.
If you enjoyed Blended, Some Places More Than Others, and Ghost, you will love this!
Incarceration of a loved one: Zoe’s mother does not speak about Zoe’s birth father, Marcus, and forbids Zoe from doing so either. This can be a difficult subject if your reader knows someone who is in prison, especially as Zoe attempts to learn whether her father was wrongfully accused while trying not to get her hopes up.
Recommended Age: 11+
Questions to consider
***Why do you think Zoe’s mom never let her read the letters from Marcus?
***Do you think it’s possible for an innocent person to be put in jail? If yes, how can we stop this from happening?
***Zoe’s greatest dream is to be the next best kid baker – what is your greatest dream?