9 Jan 2017



Author: edited by Ellen Oh
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Crown Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.

In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers.

From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories. 
This was such a good anthology of stories and they were all diverse which makes them that much better. I have a love-hate relationship with anthologies in general because I feel like short stories sometimes try to do too much with the little bit of room they have and some of the stories fell prey to that. But I think this anthology is great and has some really fantastic short stories that everyone should read in it. I highly recommend it and am glad that I started my reading year off with this! 

Overall Rating: 3.75*

"How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium" by Matt De La Peña: 3.5/5 stars.
I loved the story itself and the lesson behind it, but I was not a fan of the writing style. I am not really a huge fan of second person stories so this didn't quite sit right with me. I also thought that some of the timeline was a bit wonky but a good start to this anthology!

"The Difficult Path" by Grace Lin: 3.5/5
I think this one could have been a full novel and I would have enjoyed it more. I feel like we just got a taste of what it could be, both in terms of story, characterization, and setting. I did enjoy reading it and I immediately connected to our MC, but then pirates (AND A FEMALE CAPTAIN) were introduced and I wanted 100 pages more, so there's that.

"Sol Painting, Inc." by Meg Medina: 4/5
Like every other Meg Medina work I've read, this was a treat. I love how vividly she creates the setting then have the characters interact with it. This felt like the first chapter into an ah-mazing middle grade novel and I wish I could read more about Merci and her growing up, especially since I think there was more to discover with Roli as well.

"Secret Samantha" by Tim Federle: 3/5
As much as I have loved everything else I've read by Tim Federle, I'm not sure this one struck quite the same resonating tone with me. I feel like this didn't have the same level of pull for me? I am not sure what exactly didn't quite work for me, but I feel like there were some missed opportunities here that could have been explored.

"The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn" by Kelly J. Baptist: 4/5
I really liked this one. It was the first to make me tear up because it was just so beautiful. Sometimes kids have to be little adults and that is so scary but I think Baptist really shows the intricacies of how children know more than sometimes we believe them to and how we can make them still be children. Wonderful short story.

"Choctaw Bigfoot, Midnight in the Mountains" by Tim Tingle: 4/5
I loved this. I was so enthralled by the story within the story and I loved the questions at the end because that's how kids are. I have decided to read the rest of Tim Tingle's work because it was so FUN to read and I feel like I actually learned something about storytelling and the different ways to do it. Quite enjoyable!

"Main Street" by Jacqueline Woodson: 3.5/5
This was really short but it packed a pretty big punch. The quote on page 124 really stood out to me: "I want to move through the world that quietly. That powerfully." And I feel like while it definitely satisfied the narrative arc, I would have liked more because I feel like the story is unfinished in some ways.

"Flying Lessons" by Soman Chainani: 4.5/5
I really loved this one and I hope to one day be as cool as Nani. I think this is a really important story because not only does it address the idea that you can know you are attracted to someone of the same gender at a young age, but it also reminds you to live and not focus too much on the future because you miss the present.

"Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents" by Kwame Alexander: 3/5
This story made me literally laugh out loud in my apartment so my neighbours are probably confused. It was written in verse which made it really unique and cool. I also really liked the characters. But I did not love the ending where Monk basically forces Angel to do something against her will? I wasn't okay with that even if it was "embellished".

"Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push" by Walter Dean Myers: 4.5/5 
OH I JUST HAVE LIKE A STICK IN MY EYE OR SOMETHING. My gosh what a way to end this anthology. It broke and mended my heart all at the same time and gave me hope in this dark world.

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