As a Children’s Librarian by trade, I still find myself searching out the best fiction to recommend to kids even though currently I am a stay at home mom. I especially like to find good books for pre-teen girls. Books that send good messages to them about themselves, their bodies and the world around them. With girls today wanting to grow up so fast sometimes this can be a hard spot to fill. Girls are often drawn to the young adult books at this age although they are often not ready for them or need to be exposed to their content. That’s why I get so excited when I read a great book for this age and gender. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a superb author and has another hit on her hands with Faith, Hope and Ivy June. While tackling tough issues such as poverty, family relationships and grief, Naylor still seems to weave a magic web that brings forth a wonderful cast of unforgettable characters especially Kentucky mountain born Ivy June Mosley. Despite the differences in her two main characters, Naylor reminds us all that in life many things are the same no matter your situation. Grief still hurts and love still prevails.
As a child who grew up in rural Kentucky myself, I felt right at home with many of Ivy June’s customs and feelings. We connected immediately but I also found myself connecting with Lexington bred Catherine who is her exact opposite in many ways. This novel really explores so many important and relevant issues for today’s young girls, it’s really hard to focus on just one. I highly recommend it for young girls in the 9-12 range. I think it will be a winner and would be a great book club selection for a Girls Book Club or Mother Daughter Book Clubs. It would also make a great book for discussion in the classroom. The theme of diversity is prevalent in a way that is not often expressed. I do so hope that you will give it a chance and make sure they special girl in your life gets a copy as well. Below is a synopsis:
“When push comes to shove, two Kentucky girls find strength in each other.
Ivy June Mosely and Catherine Combs, two girls from different parts of Kentucky, are participating in the first seventh-grade student exchange program between their schools. The girls will stay at each other’s homes, attend school together, and record their experience in their journals. Catherine and her family have a beautiful home with plenty of space. Since Ivy June’s house is crowded, she lives with her grandparents. Her Pappaw works in the coal mines supporting four generations of kinfolk. Ivy June can’t wait until he leaves that mine forever and retires. As the girls get closer, they discover they’re more alike than different, especially when they face the terror of not knowing what’s happening to those they love most.”