Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught


Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught (InfoSoup)

Dani’s grandmother suffers from Alzheimer’s and is slowly reaching the end of her life cared for by Dani and her parents. So when her grandmother sends Dani on a mission to find a letter and key, Dani isn’t sure that it’s real. She discovers both the letter and key, then has to follow the trail of clues her grandmother left in her writing to discover the truth of a feud that her grandmother had with Avadelle Richardson, a novelist who wrote about a riot that happened at Ole Miss. It’s a riot that both Dani’s grandmother and Avadelle actually were caught up in. As Dani gets closer to the end of the trail, she finds more and more secrets and history and modern life begin to collide.

Vaught has written a taut novel that takes readers on a journey through Civil Rights history in Mississippi. Told through the eyes of Dani, the book is accessible to modern children and shows that racism is far from over. With our recent election, it is also a timely book that speaks to the deep-seated racism still at work in our country today. Vaught uses excerpts from Avadelle’s fictitious novel to show the historical context that the riot took place in. It does show how far we have come, but also speaks to how far we have to go.

The complex friendships of middle grade children are captured here, with Dani and her best-friend Indri sharing the adventure while her “not-friend” Mac, grandson of Avadelle continues to also be a part of it though at times the two are not speaking, just like their grandmothers. This modern division is a clever way to show how friendships change, shift and fall apart, something that mirrors what is seen in the novel and in the grandparents’ relationship.

A rich look at Civil Rights, racism and the decisions too big to be unmade, this novel is a timely look at today and our shared past. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.


10 Best Picture Books on Kindness

After the election results, I thought I’d turn to children’s books for comfort. They show me that we teach children to be thoughtful, kind and decent. My hope is that we can start to look beyond our differences in America and see the humanity and value in everyone.  One critical element in that is kindness:

Each Kindness 18475599

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (my review)

Highly recommended, this is a powerful book that is worth sharing and discussing.

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee (my review)

A masterpiece of wordless storytelling, this is a radiant picture book made to be shared.

17383707 17263567

The Good Ship Crocodile by J. Patrick Lewis (my review)

Beautifully told and illustrated, this is a strong addition to any story time on crocodiles or kindness.

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley (my review)

Beautiful and charming, this little book is sure to become a favorite.  Time to curl up with your own little bear and enjoy.

22718660 I Am a Bear by Jean Francois Dumont

The House That Jane Built: A Story about Jane Addams by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Kathryn Brown (my review)

This biography is a glimpse of an incredible woman whose legacy lives on in the United States and will serve as inspiration for those children looking to make a difference in the world around them.

I Am a Bear by Jean-Francois Dumont (my review)

A book that will help talk about homelessness and that offers a way forward, kindness.

if you plant a seed invisible boy

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson (my review)

Community, sharing and kindness come together in this splendidly illustrated picture book that is sure to be enjoyed along with other spring gardening books.

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton (my review)

A superb book about bullying and exclusion, this can be used to start discussions in a classroom or with a single child.

lion and the bird Oskar and the Eight Blesssings by Richard Simon

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc (my review)

A noteworthy picture book, this new title by Dubuc is charming and warm.

Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon (my review)

A lovely holiday book that is about more than either Christmas or Hanukkah but about home and hope.