Friday, November 2, 2007

Bloomability by Sharon Creech

I recommend this book for: grade 5-8

Sharon Creech is one of my heroes - her books always leave me feeling fantastic, and kids need that out of literature now and then. Hey, so do librarians! This gem is the story of Domenica (who prefers Dinnie), a young lady who has traveled the country with her family in her 13 years, as her father is always finding new "opportunities" and her mother and siblings have followed him. Ironically, her older siblings opportunities get severely limited - her brother's behavior lands him in jail and later in the Air Force, while her 16 year old sister marries a Marine just before he gets shipped out of the country and has his baby 9 months later. Dinnie's opportunity looks more promising - her aunt and uncle take her to Switzerland with them, where Uncle Max is the new headmaster of an international school. Although her mind resists such a move, Dinnie doesn't fight them and begins what she calls her "second life" abroad.

Dinnie's experiences reflect not just moving to a foreign country, but to any new situation - learning a new language, getting used to new people, learning new things (skiing!), missing those she has left behind. I particularly liked the signs that she makes to post in her window: the first ones read "kidnapped!" - or at least, they're supposed to, but her limited Italian makes for some interesting phrases - while later ones reflect her acclimation and growing love for her new opportunity. Her new friends come not just from America but from Spain, Japan, and all over the world - one of them coins the title phrase "bloomability" while trying to find the word for possibility. This is a sweet, exciting novel about a young lady finding her place in a different world, and I'll certainly be recommending it!


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