Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Story of a Girl --a novel by Sara Zarr

This amazing first novel by author Sara Zarr begins like this:
"I was thirteen when my dad caught me with Tommy Webber in the back of Tommy's Buick, parked next to the old Chart House down in Montara at eleven o'clock on a Tuesday night. Tommy was seventeen and the supposed friend of my brother, Darren.
I didn't love him. I'm not sure I even liked him.

The car was cold and Tommy was stoned and we'd been doing pretty much the same thing a dozen times before, and I could smell the salt air from the beach, and in my head I wrote the story of a girl who surfed the cold green ocean, when one day she started paddling in the wrong direction and didn't know it until she looked back and couldn't see the shore."
In a brief moment, Deanna Lambert's life is changed forever, at home, at school, and in her own mind and heart. This is the powerful story of her longing and her exertions to escape a life that is defined by one past indiscretion.

This is definitely a book for older teens.

Ballerina Dreams: A True Story by Lauren Thompson

Once upon a time there were five little girls who shared a dream. They wanted to be ballerinas and dance onstage like their sisters and cousins and friends.

But it would be hard for these girls to make their dream come true. They had cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities, which meant their muscles didn't move the way they wanted them to. Some wore braces. Some girls used wheelchairs and walkers to get around.

But these girls were determined. And they had a dedicated teacher. Every week they practiced. They worked hard. And one day, they were ready.

Author Thompson intersperses the story of prepping, practicing and spiffing up the costumes, makeup and little girl decor with close-up photos of each girl, her role in the recital, and her specific challenges, seen or unseen. Most importantly, she and photographer James Estrin capture the joy of the girls and their families at their accomplishments. This book shares that joy with readers a in unique and personal way.

This true story will delight young children from ages 3 and up and their parents, particularly children who delight in performing and overcoming challenges.

Lenny's Space by Kate Banks

Nine-year old Lenny is quirky, intelligent and in love with the world. And he comments on what he notices, what he loves, what he intensely dislikes.
His difficulty is that he does not know when sharing all this information is wanted, needed, or appropriate.
Lenny is lonely, he yearns for a friend; and he is brushed aside by his mother, his teacher, his fellow students. No one really appreciates his uniqueness or his struggle to figure out his world until he meets Muriel, a savvy school counselor, and when he encounters his first friend, a boy named Van.
Writing with wisdom, humor and poignancy, the author shows us the strange, troubled, and fascinating daily life of a boy who might be labeled in many schools "impulsive," "willful" , or "clueless."
Grandma's Book Letter recommends this book for parents and counselors of middle school youth for insights about children who look,on the outside,like Lenny but whose thoughts and feelings are unique.