Sunday, July 23, 2017

Book review: Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan (MG novel)

I've written short stories and novels. I've written picture books and a novel for young adults and books for adults. But I've never written a middle grade (children from 9 to 12 years of age) novel. Writing in this genre intrigues me and an idea is slowly taking shape. To encourage this idea to grow into a story, I'm seeking out new middle grade books.

Published by 
Dial Books for Young Readers:  Penguin Young Readers Group
Published in 2017

I was off-island in a mall when Short jumped off the shelf and into my hands. Standing there, I read the first page. The narrator's voice was unique and captivating. I thought maybe... I might...
"Ready to go, Leanne?"
My husband and I had planned to go to a movie.
I left the book on the shelf confident I'd be able to find it in my island library--it's especially well-stocked with new titles.
Well I searched and I searched but Short just wasn't there. Thankfully I have a source that never fails me. : )

In brief:  Short is about a short girl in the big adult world of theater.

Story question:  How will Julia Mark resolve her negative feelings toward her short stature?

In Short, author Holly Goldberg Sloan explores
-what it personally feels like to be short
-achondroplasia "dwarfism"
-how involvement in the arts can restore confidence in children who are struggling with self-esteem
and celebrates L. Frank Baum work (especially the Munchkin)

As the story begins Julia Mark is annoyed by her short stature. However, Olive--an adult little person--is confident to be herself in a tall world. Befriending Olive allows Julia to grow in understanding as to who she is and who she values and why.

The last chapter sings. There are tears in my eyes as I finish reading the last page and close this heart-warming book.

What made me sit up and take note?

Although Julia Mark is 12 years old, this novel is mainly peopled with adult characters.

Favourite quote...

Olive:  ' "Discrimination is about bias... It happens when opinions have been formed in advance, and action is based on these prior ideas." ' (p. 178)

Shawn Barr (director):  ' "The world is filled with bias, and it's consumed with judgment and opinions that are hardened and even institutionalized. That's why we do theater. That's what it's about. We are asking people to take another look at themselves and at each other." ' (p. 179-180)

Next Post:  Interview with author Pam Withers
Published Sunday, July 30 at approximately 5 PM PT