Thursday, February 15, 2018

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me --  or as my daughter and I called it What's the name of that book again? -- is a delightful children's novel and Newberry medal winner by Rebecca Stead.

My 9-year old reader doesn't typically take my recommendations, and this was no exception. But when she got sick I read this to her and we both really enjoyed it.

Stead's book is different for modern children's literature  in that it takes place in the late 70s in New York City with a plot that in part centers on the mother's acceptance as a contestant on the $20,000 Pyramid. In fact, because of the $20,000 Pyramid theme my daughter and watched a YouTube episode of the show (an episode with David Letterman as the celebrity guest) to help her understand what the author was talking about (such as the speed round and winner's circle). The chapters have topics like you'd see in the game show so we pretended that each chapter was one of these challenges (example chapter title is "Things That Open" and I'd say "Jar of Peanut Butter, Car Door, House Door, Backpack).

The book was really enjoyable to read aloud and has a mysterious plot (mystery notes) as well as some pre-teen angst ("why is that boy no longer talking to me" and changing interpersonal relationships), and with super short chapters it led itself well to bed time reading where you could decide how long you were going to read and not get stuck in the middle of a chapter.

The book's main character, Miranda, loves the book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, and if my daughter took my recommendations I'd use that as a jumping spot to get her to read that one (on her own), but that's probably not so promising.

This book has a lot of heart and sweetness and is the perfect book for a girl my daughter's age -- hitting them right on the edge of more independence, more emotion and a time where an understated female hero navigating family and friendship is delightful.

Part of the 2018 reading series for 12 books in 2018.

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