The day Lutie Painter takes the city bus north instead of the school bus west, cutting class for the first time ever, her aunt and uncle have no idea what she is up to. They cannot prevent her from riding into danger.
That same morning, Lutie's pastor, Miss Veola, whispers as always, "This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
A block from Miss Veola and up a hill in Chalk, Train Greene, thin and hungry, burns with anger. He has a decision to make, and he's running out of time.
A few miles away, among finer houses, Kelvin Hartley yawns and gets ready for another day at school, where he is a friend to all and makes an effort at nothing.
And Doria Bell, who recently moved to the South from Connecticut, walks to the bus stop, hoping the high school kids who live nearby will say hello.
All of these lives intertwine and -- in surprising ways -- become connected to Lutie's ancestors, who are buried in the cemetery in Chalk. Who would have dreamed that the long-dead Mabel Painter, who passed down the Laundry List songs to her great-great-granddaughter Lutie, had passed along a piece of American history that speaks to so many who feel lost and need hope. Big changes are in store for all, and things will never be the same.
In this luminous novel, Caroline B. Cooney delves deeply into a Southern community. Cooney reveals the comfort, inspiration, and hope its members draw from the power of faith, the glory of music, and the meaning of family.