The Benefits of Being an Octopus, by Ann Braden
The debut author, Ann Braden, is a middle school teacher in Vermont. Frustrated that there are books about urban youth and well off suburban teens, but there were so few books about struggling teens, she decided to write her own book about teens in Vermont. The result is a fantastic multilayered book! Zoey is a seventh grader, living in a trailer with her mother who works nights at a pizza place, her boyfriend, Lenny (and his father) and Zoey’s younger brother and sister. Zoey know her life would be easier if she were an octopus with eight arms who could get everything done with them. In her real life, she can’t get her homework done at night because she is too busy taking care of her brother and sister while her mother is at work. The trailer that her family lives in is Lenny’s and she and her mother try to make everything right so that Lenny is happy with them. When a teacher gets Zoey on the after school debate team,
she begins to think a bit more about what is going on around her and what she can do to change it for the better.
The whole atmosphere of this book is the real Vermont, with friction between the well-to-do middle class and the working poor and how neighbors can help each other. All the characters are very real and well done in a story with real tension. Terrific book!
How Can I Encourage My Child to Jump into Summer Reading?
Did you know, a great way to support your child’s summer reading practice is to let them choose their own books? Children and teens who choose their own books are more likely to find books they love, and people who read books they love are more likely to become lifelong readers.
We have a marvelous universe of books available for summer reading in the Children’s Room at RFL! Browse our picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter book series, and top-notch fiction and nonfiction books. Need a launchpad, a place to start? Look for our READ MORE Rhode Island Children’s Book Award displays. The RICBA is a children’s choice award. Each year students in grades 3 to 5 vote on their favorite book from a ballot of 20 selections nominated by a panel of librarians, reading specialists and teachers. Likewise, the Rhode Island Middle School Book Award winner is chosen each year by students in grades 6 to 8. So, if we’ve marked a book with a RIMSBA sticker or RICBA sticker, you’ll know it’s a stellar choice for summer reading!
And if you really don’t know where to start, our library staff can recommend excellent books and proven authors for kids who would rather do anything other than read this summer – and for kids who would rather read than do anything else!
Big thanks to staff member Kristen Q for this great advice!
Here it is-the hot new thing. I am surely in the minority when I say, I didn’t like it! The first 100 pages were too slow for my taste. As I kept reading, I realized this was going to be one of those books with a twist at the end (predictably so because this book certainly wasn’t about great writing) and that is exactly what happened. I kind of saw it coming. However, I enjoyed the scenery because I am always intrigued by books set in the south! Check it out!
Grab a seat in front of the window, near the old faithful lemon tree and read in the peace and quiet. Did you know Coelho’s The Alchemist is a graphic novel now?!
Check out the StoryWalk our Outreach Librarian NANCY set up today! We love this book!