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Great stories. Not quite the right age range for my class. Think they would be more suited to a mature year 6 class or high school children. I enjoyed reading them though and there are some excellent themes that could be discussed!
É uma coletânea de histórias otimistas e foi dado como leitura obrigatória de inglês para um aluno meu de escola bilíngue (7o ano). Não li todas as histórias (cada capítulo corresponde a um conto), mas li uns 40%. São histórias de otimismo. Em geral, apresentam algum problema relacionado à maturidade, a como um pré-adolescente pode superar situações difíceis em sua formação.
This was such a good anthology of stories and they were all diverse which makes them that much better. I have a love-hate relationship with anthologies in general because I feel like short stories sometimes try to do too much with the little bit of room they have and some of the stories fell prey to that. But I think this anthology is great and has some really fantastic short stories that everyone should read in it. I highly recommend it and am glad that I started my reading year off with this!
Overall Rating: 3.75*
"How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium" by Matt De La Peña: 3.5/5 stars. I loved the story itself and the lesson behind it, but I was not a fan of the writing style. I am not really a huge fan of second person stories so this didn't quite sit right with me. I also thought that some of the timeline was a bit wonky but a good start to this anthology!
"The Difficult Path" by Grace Lin: 3.5/5 I think this one could have been a full novel and I would have enjoyed it more. I feel like we just got a taste of what it could be, both in terms of story, characterization, and setting. I did enjoy reading it and I immediately connected to our MC, but then pirates (AND A FEMALE CAPTAIN) were introduced and I wanted 100 pages more, so there's that.
"Sol Painting, Inc." by Meg Medina: 4/5 Like every other Meg Medina work I've read, this was a treat. I love how vividly she creates the setting then have the characters interact with it. This felt like the first chapter into an ah-mazing middle grade novel and I wish I could read more about Merci and her growing up, especially since I think there was more to discover with Roli as well.
"Secret Samantha" by Tim Federle: 3/5 As much as I have loved everything else I've read by Tim Federle, I'm not sure this one struck quite the same resonating tone with me. I feel like this didn't have the same level of pull for me? I am not sure what exactly didn't quite work for me, but I feel like there were some missed opportunities here that could have been explored.
"The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn" by Kelly J. Baptist: 4/5 I really liked this one. It was the first to make me tear up because it was just so beautiful. Sometimes kids have to be little adults and that is so scary but I think Baptist really shows the intricacies of how children know more than sometimes we believe them to and how we can make them still be children. Wonderful short story.
"Choctaw Bigfoot, Midnight in the Mountains" by Tim Tingle: 4/5 I loved this. I was so enthralled by the story within the story and I loved the questions at the end because that's how kids are. I have decided to read the rest of Tim Tingle's work because it was so FUN to read and I feel like I actually learned something about storytelling and the different ways to do it. Quite enjoyable!
"Main Street" by Jacqueline Woodson: 3.5/5 This was really short but it packed a pretty big punch. The quote on page 124 really stood out to me: "I want to move through the world that quietly. That powerfully." And I feel like while it definitely satisfied the narrative arc, I would have liked more because I feel like the story is unfinished in some ways.
"Flying Lessons" by Soman Chainani: 4.5/5 I really loved this one and I hope to one day be as cool as Nani. I think this is a really important story because not only does it address the idea that you can know you are attracted to someone of the same gender at a young age, but it also reminds you to live and not focus too much on the future because you miss the present.
"Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents" by Kwame Alexander: 3/5 This story made me literally laugh out loud in my apartment so my neighbours are probably confused. It was written in verse which made it really unique and cool. I also really liked the characters. But I did not love the ending where Monk basically forces Angel to do something against her will? I wasn't okay with that even if it was "embellished".
"Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push" by Walter Dean Myers: 4.5/5 OH I JUST HAVE LIKE A STICK IN MY EYE OR SOMETHING. My gosh what a way to end this anthology. It broke and mended my heart all at the same time and gave me hope in this dark world.
Some of these stories are poorly written and not realistic in the character dialog. I can tell some authors haven't experienced what they are writing about. Not all these stories seem appropriate for the young age group they are written for. I am tired of seeing sexual orientation in children's books and shows. It's not a children's topic. They shouldn't have to worry about adult issues. Its manipulative.
This is a fantastic book for middle grades. It gives a voice to people who do not see themselves in literature frequently enough. It also addresses situations and opportunities that don't get portrayed in literature enough, things like living out of a hotel room, watching a parent do something you didn't think was right, having feelings about someone new, family storytelling, playing pick up basketball at the municipal gym, being a person of color in an all white community, and playing basketball when you're confined to a wheelchair. Every voice is different. But every voice is also important. They tell their own stories, but they tell our stories too. Because we all have an experience where we're new or where we want to get into a group and don't know how. We've all had a crush on someone and don't know how to get their attention. We have younger or older siblings, friends who move away, teachers who understand us, and those who don't. We're embarrassed by our parents, and we love them, and we support them, and we miss them, and we're ashamed by them, and sometimes all at the same time. This book is full of stories. But the stories need to be told. And they need to be read.
I am a "read aloud" volunteer at the school my son goes to, and good short stories for grades 3-5 can be hard to find. The first two in this book work well. In fact, I was stunned by the quiet attention afforded the first story by Matt de la Peña. "Beans and Rice Chronicle ..." is good too, though I'd have to excerpt it some to fit in the half hour slot I get. (de la Peña's story I managed by reading quickly, but that added intensity to the story.) Sol Painting is good material, but IMO the writing is just a bit clumsy -- sort of like I might write if I made the time to. I personally did not "sign on" for the message in the title story, "Flying Lessons". There are particular situations which might warrant deceit, but I felt the deceitfulness depicted in this story was gratuitous, so I would not use this.
I absolutely adored this anthology. Each of these stories features a marginalized kid and the stories address and incorporate their identity without being exclusively an "issue" story. They were all enjoyable reads with thought-provoking themes. My personal favorites were The Difficult Path by Grace Lin, in which a poor servant girl who loves to read finds an unexpected way to use her skill; Secret Samantha by Tim Federle, which involves a queer/gender-nonconforming kid developing a crush on the new girl in their class and drawing her name for Secret Santa; and Flying Lessons by Soman Chainani, in which a shy Indian American boy goes on vacation to Europe with his grandmother and finds unexpected friends.
I can't say enough good things about these stories! First of all, the writers are all excellent in their own right, and I've read a couple of their full novels before, so I was expecting good things, but not to this level! The first story is PERFECT for reluctant male readers who like basketball, or any reader who needs a good story about persistence in getting to your goal. I had to re-read several of them multiple times, only because they were THAT good. The diversity in this collection is there without being exclusive. Meaning anyone can enjoy the story, but those who have experienced what the character is going through (example, living in a hotel room/homelessness/racism, etc.) will find themselves in at least one of these stories. The stories are short enough for anyone to finish rather quickly, but still fully complete in their plot line. I have recommended this to several other teachers who have purchased it for their classrooms.
This was a fantastic short story collection for middle grade readers! Stories were unique & diverse and offered a wide range of characters & subject matter! I really hope that this collection is not the first of its kind! A few stories seemed to drag and throw off my pace - hence the 4 stars instead of 5! Can't wait to book talk this title with my fifth graders!