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I loved Ellie’s story! Her relationships with her mom, grandparents, and community are told in a true middle grade voice. I so appreciate stories that feature kids who are outside popular “cliques” as the reality is that’s the case for most kids.
I also loved that there is a thread of leaning into what makes you unique: for Ellie, it’s her baking skills; for her friends, singing, knowing facts, and building. I like that kids this age can be told that what they love is important!
The only section that caused me pause and is worth noting is a scene where Ellie and her friend are talking and her friend mentions that they are a “tribe.” When Ellie says that she doesn’t understand - she thinks of the word tribe referring to Native American tribes - her friend corrects her, whitewashing the term and applying it to any group of friends. In the US, this is a big deal as Native Americans have been telling anyone who will listen that the broad use of the word is hurtful. Since this book featured an all-white cast and using the term that way goes un-challenged in the book, I thought it was worth mentioning. And when read by kids, discussed.
Ellie’s complex relationships with her family, her friends, and her own health provide the backdrop for a really great character arc.