When sixth-grader Gene Tucks moves from Up North, she dreads being the new kid at school and almost everything else about her dull life as a “nobody. ” But what she dreads most is the hundred-day journal-writing assignment her teacher has given the class. His brilliant idea is to have the journals locked in the town museum’s vault for forty years so that future sixth-graders can read them. Gene has trouble writing to someone who isn’t even born yet, but little by little, Dear Nobody becomes Dear Somebody, who evolves into Dear Toni. Toni, as it turns out, is a good listener and a best friend to whom Gene can tell everything. And there’s a lot to tell – some of it funny, some of it sad, and all of it far from dull.

Through Gene’s one hundred entries and funny drawings, a whole story unwinds and in the end, just like Toni will in time, we meet one of the freshest, funniest characters to come along in decades.

Dear Toni has the look and feel of a journal, but the heart of a special eleven-year-old.



Won the 2010 Silver Birch Express Award!

Nominated for: 2009 Hackmatack, 2010 Diamond Willow,  2010/2011 Red Cedar Award

​Chosen as one of the Best Books for Kids by the Canadian Children's Book Centre

​Selected as one of the Best Children's Books of the Year by the Bank Street College of Education


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Order the book from Chapters here.


"Gene’s journal looks like a real notebook, complete with doodles, which adds to the novel’s winning authenticity." —Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

"In the tradition of Ramona Quimby and Clementine, Dear Toni introduces another young spunky endearing character…" CM . . . . Volume XV Number 2 . . . . September 12, 2008

"…the most powerful theme is that of Gene's altruism…Sand-Eveland accomplishes this without letting Gene get cutesy or without brining in a parent to deliver the moral…" —Quill and Quire

"… Girls, especially, will relate to the protagonist and feel as if they are reading personal notes from a close friend."—Donna Atmur, Los Angeles Public Library School Library Journal

"…includes hand-drawn doodles which really make the journal come alive." Recommended to preteen girls. SMS Book Reviews

“… Dear Toni is the kind of book people of all ages could read and thoroughly enjoy…We get a bird’s eye view into the life of an eleven year old, complete with the angst and the ecstasy of growing up…” —Joan Plaxton editor Valley Views

…Aspects of the story are both poignant and palatable for young readers. Gene's story is told in a marvelously authentic voice; delightful doodles accompany the text, which appears printed on faux-notebook paper. A great addition to middle-grade collections. Kirkus Reviews