In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

LOVE, AUBREY by Suzanne LeFleur

copyright date: February 2011
primarily marketed for: intermediate readers (grades 4-6)

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LeFleur is nominated for the 2013 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award in the state of Illinois.  I can see why.  This is one of those stories that is good for the soul, and the craft employed to tell it is just as nourishing. 

At the start of the book, Aubrey is home alone.  She keeps referring to her mother as if she will be coming home.  However, it doesn’t take long for readers to figure out that her mother is not coming back.  At first, Aubrey tries to hide her mother’s disappearance in an effort to protect her.  Eventually, though, she is discovered and is taken to live to with her grandmother while her mother is located. 

Life with Aubrey’s grandmother is not smooth sailing for Aubrey.  She is still mourning the loss of her younger sister and her father in a car accident.  She needs her absent mother.  Luckily, Aubrey’s grandmother is one of those characters we all wish we had in our lives.  She is all the goodness and strength and patience a troubled girl like Aubrey needs. 

Through the stay with her grandmother, Aubrey begins to heal.  She has help, of course, in the form of a pet betta fish, her grandmother’s neighbor, and letters she signs ‘Love, Aubrey.’

Aubrey is sure to tug at your heartstrings, so you may want to keep tissues handy!  Here are some of the lines from this book that did my soul good (and are likely to do the same for yours):

“No matter how much we love someone, or think we know them, we can never know what it is like to be inside them.” (page 15)

“When I finally pulled away, there was wetness on her shirt.  Drops I didn’t need to carry around anymore.” (page 60)

“He shook his head like he was trying to shake memories right out of his ears.” (page 159)

“She would never hear me, my voice was scrunched up so small.” (page 194)

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