Tag Archives: Kid Life

Piper Reed Gets a Job

Piper Reed Gets a Job

Piper Reed Gets a Job

Piper and The Gypsy Club (Piper and her friends Hailey, Michael and Nicole) have a problem. Since Piper moved and left her treehouse behind, there is nowhere good for them to hold their Gypsy Club meetings. They find an ad in a magazine for the perfect clubhouse – it has window boxes, wooden shingles…and it only costs $1,999.00. Now that’s cash The Gypsy Club doesn’t have, but they figure if they each ask their parents, at least ONE set of parents ought to say yes.

They figured wrong. Three sets of parents (Michael & Nicole are twins)=three answers:

  1. “We aren’t rich like the Trumps in New York.”
  2. “No, no, and no with a cherry on top.”
  3. “No way. Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

On to plan B. The kids decide that the only way they can get their clubhouse is to earn the money themselves – that’s $500 each. Piper is so intent on earning her money she says “yes” to every job she can get: planning a three-year-old’s birthday party, drawing the pictures for her sister’s book and babysitting…for triplets! Unfortunately Piper schedules these things all for the same weekend. As if she hasn’t heard, “Piper Read, you’re in trouble” before! Piper finds out that bringing home the bacon takes more than just doing the work, you have to have a good plan and good friends to get all the jobs done. And it helps a lot to get your homework done first too. Author: Kimberly Willis Holt

To find out how The Gypsy Club started and more about Piper Reed, try her other books, or try out another spunky girl, Clementine.
Piper Reed Navy Brat Piper Reed the Great Gypsy Piper Reed Campfire Girl Clementine's Letter
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The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

Molly’s a pitcher. Her eighth grade year she does something a little different. She tries out for the boys baseball team instead of the girl’s softball team. When she shows up for try-outs, Molly brings her secret weapon, a weapon that comes as a suprise to the other boys trying out as well as her coaches. Molly can throw a floating knuckleball (a butterfly).  And she can throw it hard.

But this story is about much more than a girl trying out for a usually all-boys team. Boys’ baseball isn’t the only thing different about Molly’s eighth grade year. This year, she has to learn how to do everything, including baseball, without her Dad, who died in a car accident before the school year began. Molly’s Mom is barely holding it together herself, which is hard, because now it’s like Molly’s lost both parents.

Molly is pretty honest about how she feels about her Mom. At one point Molly imagines telling her, “I love you and all that, but right now everything about you bothers me.” And it isn’t that Molly doesn’t love her Mom, it’s that her Mom isn’t her Dad, and the Mom she once knew is now different. The best part about this book is how intensely honest Molly is. She also has a best friend, Celia, who is the same way and is the only person Molly knows who still treats her like Molly, not like “Miss Difficulty Overcome.” It’s Celia that keeps Molly talking about her feelings so that she can deal with them. It’s Celia that nudges Molly and her Mom toward each other again.

To make the story even better, the baseball part is realistic – the boys are competitive and the games are intense. Some of the boys are not happy at all about Molly making the team. When Lonnie steps forward to give Molly  someone to pitch to, he turns out to be a really good friend too. Author: Mick Cochrane

If you like Molly’s story, here are some more about kids coming to terms with changes, sometimes using sports to help them cope and sometimes just leaning on a good friend:
  Confetti Girl Umbrella Summer Top of the Order

 

 

Celia and Lonnie

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all the broken pieces

all the broken pieces

all the broken pieces

In 1975, toward the end of the Vietnam war, many children were airlifted away from the fighting in Vietnam and sent to The United States. Many of the children were orphans, but some of the children were put on the helicopters by their own parents, parents who hoped to keep their children from being hurt in the war.

Can you imagine how sad it would be to have to send your child to strangers in a strange land? And what if you were one of the children? Would you understand if your mom or dad sent you away, even it it was for a good reason?

all the broken pieces is the story of one of these children, Matt Pin, who still has nightmares about the war and carries in his heart a secret he is afraid to tell. It’s a secret he’s even afraid to think about too much.

Matt is 12 now and has loving adoptive parents here in The United States. He goes to school and he plays baseball. He is living the American dream his mother hoped for him when she put him on the helicopter to escape the war. But underneath the dream are Matt’s memories and the memories of what he left behind in Vietnam. These memories are too strong to ignore and too important to keep hidden.

I loved reading this story and watching Matt begin to reveal the pieces of his life he has kept secret. Matt’s story is the kind that makes you cry. Imagining yourself in his shoes, or in his Vietnamese mother’s shoes – that’s really hard. But Matt’s story also makes you feel good because you see the hope and goodness that grew out of a bad thing. That doesn’t mean the War didn’t cause a lot of pain, it just means that people survived the pain and made good things happen as they moved forward. That’s a really hopeful message. Author: Ann E. Burg

Look Inside all the broken pieces

More stories about other kids who lived through the Vietnam War and found their own ways to cope and their own kind of hope for a more peaceful future:
Kaleidoscope Eyes Cracker the Best Dog in Vietnam Shooting the Moon Vietnam War
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Umbrella Summer

Umbrella Summer

Umbrella Summer

Annie never goes anywhere without being prepared. She wears a bicycle helmet, sometimes even when she’s not on a bicycle. She carries lots of band-aids. She checks for black widow spiders. She doesn’t ride her bike fast or climb too high and she always, always wears sunscreen. Annie even does research looking up the symptoms of diseases in the medical encyclopedia so she can know right away if she’s got something weird.

Annie knows there’s a lot of dangerous stuff in the world and if you don’t look for it, it might get you while you’re not paying attention. Annie wants no more surprises. She’s had one surprise and that’s enough. Her older brother Jared suddenly died from an undiagnosed heart problem. Her parents, her friends, even her friend’s dad who is a doctor…everyone keeps telling Annie not to worry so much, that she’s just fine. But they all thought her brother was just fine too.

The thing is, it’s hard to be so careful all the time and it isn’t any fun either. Annie can’t grow up covered in band-aids and walking around in a bicycle helmet.  Luckily, she finds a kindred spirit in her new neighbor, Mrs. Finch, who has also lost a person close to her. Sometimes it takes a good friend who understands to help you find your smile and have fun again. Author: Lisa Graff

Two more really good stories about kids coping with grief within their families. They each find some good people to help them find their smiles again:
Confetti Girl The Girl Who Threw Butterflies
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Extra Credit

Extra Credit

Extra Credit

Abby doesn’t like homework much. She thinks she’s doing just enough to get by until she gets called into the principal’s office and learns that she has fallen below “get by” and is in danger of having to repeat sixth grade.

It’s February. In order to pass, Abby has to get a B or better on EVERY assignment and test in EVERY subject. For extra credit, she has to write a pen pal in another country, make a bulletin board display of the letters and do an oral report on the experience in front of her class.

Sadeed Bayat works hard at his homework. In fact, he is considered the best student in his class. He is definitely the best English speaker and writer. When a letter from America arrives at his village in Afghanistan, the village elders look to Sadeed to write a letter back. They also look to Sadeed to Represent their village well. But not everyone is happy about the letters. One person in Sadeed’s village sees the American stamps on the letters and is outraged – outraged enough to threaten Sadeed and his family.

This is the story of an unconventional friendship full of surprises for the two letter writers, as well as the adults who put them up to it. A great story of an international friendship that could come straight from today’s headlines. Author: Andrew Clements

If you like the idea of kids learning about each other, try Faith, Hope & Ivy June. The two girls both live in Kentucky, but when they trade places, they learn that their lives are a world apart. If you are interested in the Middle East, try Trouble in Timbuktu or The Seven Keys of Balabad.
Faith, Hope & Ivy June Trouble in Timbuktu The Seven Keys of Balabad
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