Apr 15, 10
Read in January, 2004
This sleeper book is one of the most innovative, honest, and compassionate pieces of children's literature that I have read in a long time.
Through the endearing character of Lucky, the intelligent, insightful, resourceful, and resilient ten-year-old girl who became the foster child of her absentee father's French ex-wife after the death of her mother, we are given a child's eye view of a number of complex social issues in the well-named desert community of Hard Pan, CA., all handled with sensitivity, and the gentle, unselfconscious, honesty that is natural to children.
Read it out loud to your family if you enjoy the sterling ring of emotional truth.
This book will build the self-esteem of anyone who reads it, especially children, due to it's sheer human-heartedness.
It is only the most deluded, and amnesiac of adults who believes that children don't know that life is really this complicated. When we stop pretending it isn't, we make ourselves truly emotionally available to children, and allow them to trust us, and use us as an honest gauge for measuring their own emotional truth.
We become real grown ups for them at last.
Once you get to know Lucky, you'll never forget her.
Beautiful. Your heart will stand up and cheer.
This book is quite an achievement, and I hope to see more from this author very soon.
Just a note: this would be an excellent book for any child, but would be particularly valuable for children whose lives include issues of poverty, death of a parent, foster care, adoption, or adults recovering from substance abuse, and to help children whose lives don't include these things to understand them in a compassionate way at a level approprriate for children.
Adults themselves, especially those in recovery, might find it very valuable, also.
As far as the "controversy" over the author's very appropriate use of the word "scrotum", I believe that American's should be embarrassed that such puritanical neurosis about identifying body parts with accurate scientific language has lived this long in our culture.
Why should we continue to teach children that their bodies are bad by attempting to euphemize perfectly good body parts out of existence?
I know grown women who still talk about the vulva, or vagina as "down there" or 'wee-wee" for goodness sake!
I'd rather any child of mine know the real names of body parts, and have that pride of ownership of their own body that leads to a sense of self care, than to shame them about what is perfectly natural by treating it's legitimate name like a "dirty" word.
People really need to get their minds out of the gutter, and their vocabulary out of the 19th century.
Otherwise, we essentially end up a nation of people who only know what amounts to slang terms for important body parts.
No wonder we are, as a nation, a people who are obsessed with sex, frustrated in our needs, can't stand therapeutic touch, and can't talk intelligently about our own bodies, even as adults.
It is a developmental norm for children to think and talk about their own, and others body parts in what we might consider a somewhat graphic way if an adult was speaking.
They are just beginning to understand who they are emotionally and physically.
It's a mistake to derail that natural developmental process.
Instead we should support it by giving them a valid, and validating vocabulary.
The writer speaks from a deep understanding of children's needs, experiences, and psychological development, and from an extensive background in Children's Literature.
This work helps to fill a gaping void. It brings the life experiences of a large number of children into the warm sunlight of compassion in Children's Literature.
When children find themselves, and their real lives, in books like this, they will learn to accept themselves, and they will be far more likely to make books a regular part of their lives.