Daily Archives: June 24, 2012

Ribbons

by Laurence Yep
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

Category: Contemporary Realistic Fiction (Multicultural)

Personal Evaluation: I skimmed this one so I’m sure there was a lot I missed out on, but I thought that the similarities between the state of Robin’s feet due to ballet dancing and her grandmother’s feet due to being bound as a girl in China was an interesting¬†and fresh one. I liked how the grandmother came around – that definitely seems to be a common theme in children’s books: adult-child familial relationships in conflict and one or both coming around somehow.

What might interest children: I think this would especially appeal to dancers (mostly girls, though Thomas was definitely an interesting character). It would probably also appeal to Chinese kids, or kids with friends who are Chinese and want to learn more about that culture. And of course kids will find the relationships between Robin, her parents, and her grandmother interesting.

One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

Category: Contemporary Realistic Fiction (Multicultural)

Personal Evaluation: Wow, this book made me uncomfortable. I hated the mother and could not understand why the girls were being sent to her for a month. I could understand that they would want to meet her finally, years after she abandoned them, but she was such a horrible mother when they got there that I wondered why she ever agreed to have them for the summer. But as the book reached its end, I was satisfied with how Cecile came around and explained her life. I also thought this book should be more like historical fiction since the author wrote it in 2010 about 1968 and seemed to put emphasis on placing it historically by mentioning President Kennedy and calling the girls Negros. But the children’s librarian at work considered all that and said she’d still call it contemporary realistic fiction instead, so here we are.

What might interest children: Kids in need of understanding adult decisions, especially parental abandonment, might find this book interesting. I’m not actually sure how many kids will like it because Cecile is so unlikeable, but the girls definitely are likeable and their relationships with each other are so believable. Also kids who are aware of racial tensions might find that aspect interesting.