A young girl learns some hard truths about human nature in this thought-provoking, beautifully crafted novel. Tomorrow, Emma's uncle is coming to take her to his house on Long Island while her father undergoes surgery and her mother stays with him in hospital. For two whole weeks, Emma will be stuck with her father's half-sister: the strange, bossy Aunt Bea. Luckily, Emma makes a friend at the beach, Bertie, and the two girls begin building a village made entirely of shells. There's the mayor's house, constructed of sand dollars and with a roof of pinecones, and the main street with white bubble shells. Every day the girls add to their village by the sea. Then, just before Emma is to return home, something awful happens. In this thoughtful novel, Newbery Medal and Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Paula Fox offers an unflinching and candid depiction of forgiveness and unconditional love.