Tuesday, May 26, 2020

We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly - ADVISABLE

We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly, 400 pages. Greenwillow (Harper Collins), 2020. $17.

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



7th grader Birdie Thomas is so excited to see the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger - she would like to be an astronaut more than anything in the world - she loves every activity, every discussion, every assignment. Her twin brother Fitch, on the other hand is more interested in the arcade, he's amazing at some of the hardest games, but very irritated by Amanda, who refuses to call him Fitch - she wants to call him Henry. No one calls him Henry. Cash, the oldest brother loves basketball - but he's not very good at it - on the team last year but spent most of the season on the bench - until his grades slipped and he got kicked off. In fact, Cash had to repeat 7th grade, now he's in the same grade as his younger siblings; with a broken hand and a bad attitude, Cash is in danger of failing 7th grade again.

Erin Entrada Kelly has written a great character study, 1 month in the lives of 3 siblings (January 1986). These kids live in a fairly dysfunctional family - the parents are distracted by their own drama and they fight a lot, so Birdie, Fitch and Cash are navigating their problems themselves, not even really supporting each other. Knowing the fate of the Challenger mission, I ached for Birdie - her hopeful attitude, her excitement at being able to watch the launch, yet knowing something she didn't yet. Her brothers are also great characters - Fitch has a temper that is difficult to control and when he "flips out" in class he says something he wishes he hadn't - so many kids will relate to him, and Cash - he needs more help than just the threat spending another year in 7th grade. Nostalgic and heartbreaking, I loved it. I do wonder if it will need to be hand sold to the kids because it's not plot driven.

Lisa Librarian

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