Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Authentic First Person

I think some authors are more successful than others at really capturing the voice of children in the first person. I have been fortunate enough to read three great examples recently. What I particularly love about all three of these books is that they cover some very serious issues and in no way dumb it down or try to protect the reader from these very difficult situations.

  • Pack of Dorks, by Beth Vrabel. Fourth grader Lucy knows what it is like to be one of the most popular kids in school, and thanks to her former best friend and former boyfriend, she now also knows what it is like to be a dork. But is it really so bad being part of a pack of dorks? Sometimes. A very poignant story of bullying and true friendship.
  • Kinda Like Brothers, by Coe Booth. Jarrett is used to his mom fostering babies that have been through horrific situations, and he tries not to become attached, because they come and go and there's nothing he can do about it. But then his mom just can't stand to separate baby Treasure and her older brother Kevon, so Jarrett gains a new brother(?)/enemy(?)/friend(?). Sharing his mom with these needy kids, and now having to share his friends, activities, and worst of all his room with Kevon, Jarrett learns a lot about abuse, family, and friendship.
  • Rain Reign, by Ann M. Martin. Rose (rows, roes) lives with her dad and her dog, Rain (Reign, Rein). Her dad found Rain on a stormy night (knight) and brought her home as a gift. There aren't a lot of happy times in Rose's life other than the time (thyme) she spends with her dog and the time she spends with her uncle. But what happens if Rain isn't actually Rose's dog after all? And what happens when her dad just can no longer handle her Aspergerish need to call out homonyms every single time she hears one (won)?

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