Girl with a Baby
by Sylvia Olsen
You are the same girl that came to school last year. They are the same kids. But nothing was the same and I knew it. I had become the girl with a baby. Jane has always been the good Williams. Her brothers might be high school dropouts and late-night rowdy partiers, but never Jane. Jane never drinks, smokes dope or misses a single day of school. She’s in the drama club . . . smart and hot . . . one of the popular ones.
Or she used to be. Now she’s one of those: the teenage mothers packing diaper bags with their knapsacks, wheeling strollers into the high school daycare, tired and grumpy. Jane’s only 14, younger than most of them, and she can feel the stares in the school halls. She can hear the whispers on her whitebread street, too: too bad, gone the way of her brothers, guess those Indians are all the same.
Jane isn’t what she used to be – but then, maybe she’s more. When baby Destiny was being born, grandmother Tet told her she came from a long line of strong mothers, and Jane’s discovering it’s true. Because of baby Destiny, Jane dares to demand the best, not just of herself, but of her whole family. This Jane accepts the consequences of her decisions, good and bad, and pushes through prejudices the former Jane just tiptoed around. This Jane is a strong link in something bigger than herself. She’s a girl with a baby, two feet on the ground, one hand in the warm grasp of Tet and her Indian past, and the other holding firmly to the future.
Awards and Nominations
The Stellar Award: the Teen Readers’ Choice Award of BC