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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Flying Lessons and other stories, edited by Ellen Oh. Crown, Random House. 2017. $22.99 ages 9 and up

"Papi is going to yell at them
for ruining my work. Any second,
his voice will boom across the gym.
The walls will rattle. When Papi
loses his temper, it feels as if
you're trapped inside a huge storm
cloud. But as the seconds tick by,
absolutely nothing happens. I
finally turn to see that Papi has
stopped in his tracks, his hands
in his pockets ... "

Ruth Oh is cofounder of WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS.   As such she has edited this collection of short stories written by writers who represent diversity in their writing and in their own lives. Each story is singular in its telling, and will hold the attention of middle grade readers.

They are boldly written by a stellar group of writers, who will be familiar to their intended audience. They tell stories of school, family, friends, sports, romance. There are 10 stories here and they are as diverse as their authors, their circumstances and will feed a reader's need for books that are both windows and mirrors. They show the importance of courage and creativity, escape and enlightenment, patience and perseverance, laughter and anger. There are stories of the past and present, of diverse settings and a more diverse world. There is so much here to enjoy, and to cause readers to pause and consider other lives lived.

A wonderful way to start the year in a middle years class - one story a day for each of the first ten days. Kids will identify with the kids in these shared stories, as they are inspired to initiate and prolong great conversation and set your classroom on a course for seeking other books to read together as the year progresses. And, it is a much needed book for all collections.

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