Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden - ADVISABLE

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden, 256 pages. Sky Pony Press, 2018 $17

Language: PG (3 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (emotional abuse).



Zoe is in 7th grade. She would like to be a good student but conditions at home are difficult. Zoe, her 3 siblings and her mom are living with Lenny, mom's abusive boyfriend in his trailer home. Zoe's favorite animal is an octopus - if Zoe had 8 arms she could hang on to all three kids and still try to keep her life together. When Zoe joins the Debate club, she begins to recognize how Lenny is manipulative, but can she gain the courage to help her mom do something about it?

The lessons she learned in debate club were great; about discrediting your opponent, and understanding both sides of the argument. I loved Zoe - she is so overwhelmed with caring for the little ones, and trying to do her homework, and worry about her mom - middle school readers will eat that up. I don't love the cover, it will take a bit of hand selling but once it gets some reads, the kids will talk about it. Excited to have it in my collection.

Lisa Librarian

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