Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World, by Ashley Herring Blake

If you are looking for a fabulous book for any child questioning his or her identity, an LGBQT story, or a thought-provoking read about one tween’s journey to understanding and finding herself, you must check out Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, by Ashley Herring Blake, stat.

Ivy Aberdeens Letter to the World Best Middle Grade Books and Chapter Books for kids and tweens.jpg

My goodness, can these middle grade books get any better? Where were these phenomenal stories when I was a young girl? I remember when I was 12 years old, and my home in Miami was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. It was a pivotal year in my life- I had just become a Bat Mitzvah, I was struggling to figure out if I would ever become a graceful teenager and not just a gawky teen, I longed to know if boys would ever look my way, and I wondered if my community would ever get put back together after suffering from total destruction. So many questions, so much angst— and so few stories to help me feel less alone and less confused.

Though my longings were not quite the same, I wish I’d had a book like Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World! Ivy Aberdeen’s angst hit all the right notes and resonated so very deeply. In this story, Ivy’s home is flattened by a tornado that rages through her town. All she manages to save is her pillow which contains her most precious possessions inside a thin case - fancy markers and a journal filled up with drawings, many of which contain illustrations of her and an unidentifiable girl. While staying in a school gym with other displaced persons after the storm, Ivy’s notebook goes missing. When her pictures start turning up in her locker, together with notes encouraging her to be true to herself and come clean with who she is at her core, Ivy begins to hope that the mysterious letters are coming from a girl on whom she has secretly developed a crush. Will Ivy let go of her fears and embrace who she is meant to be?

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World will be a valuable window book for some and a mirror book for so many others. Ivy fears being unlike those around her- being shunned for wanting something so different than her friends and her big sister. After all, when Ivy’s sister and her best friend stop speaking and Ivy believes it’s because her sister’s friend has come out of the closet, Ivy fears her sister will totally disown her, too. Though the yearnings expressed in Ivy’s story may certainly be different for some tweens, the burning desire to understand who you are at your core, to not just accept those things that make us unique but love them too, is simply universal. We have all experienced, in unique ways and to varying degrees, the unsettling and anxiety-provoking fear that comes hand in hand with feeling so wholly different from those around us.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World gave me chills, and it is a book of incredible importance that has an especially significant place in every library, every classroom, and every child’s bookshelf. I am so grateful to the fabulous kidlit authors that continually place these notable books into children’s hands around the globe. There is nothing like a book to make you feel less alone and more understood.

What did you think about Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World? Let us know on our Facebook page, and make sure to follow us there! If you liked this post, make sure to check out our Favorite Middle Grade Books of 2018. We think you will also love these books about tweens discovering themselves: Front Desk, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, and Brown Girl Dreaming.

Want the book? Get it here! Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, by Ashley Herring Blake. *This is an affiliate link.

If you have a tween reader at home, Ivy Aberdeens Letter to the World is a fabulous middle grade book about self identity is an absolute must!.jpg

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, by Beatrice Alemagna

Teaching digital rights and responsibilities to children should include one crucial element: taking time to unplug and disconnect. On a Magical Do-Nothing Day is a wonderful example of this notion!

Teaching Digital Rights and Responsibilities with On A Magical Do Nothing Day

Remember the days when we didn't worry about screens cracking or batteries dying and the only volume anyone was concerned about was whether kids were properly using their inside voices? I do. And sometimes, I wish we were back there. Yes, I love my phone and my gadgets, and yes, it's pretty fantastic that I can access all of my work and writing and scheduling from one simple device. But, gosh, how I hate when my kids only want to watch Daniel Tiger and Paw Patrol on my iPad! Enter On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, a whimsical new book written and illustrated by the great Beatrice Alemagna- a book that reminds us of simpler days and ranked high on my list of favorites from 2017.

In On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, a young boy wants nothing more than to destroy Martians on his device. But mom - smart mom! - eventually takes the device away and hides it. The boy finds the gadget though, and he goes to play with it outside in the rain.  But then, lo and behold, the device of all devices falls smack dab into the middle of a pond. Whatever will the child do to pass the time? Maybe, just maybe, with the help of some friendly snails and the use of his long forgotten imagination, the day will turn out ok after all.

Need I say more? If your kids are getting too much screen time, hide the phones, take away the iPads, snuggle up on the couch, and read this book. And then go outside, play hide and seek, and enjoy your beautiful, natural environment together. Sometimes we all need that reminder to unplug- and yes, I'm not just talking about the kids. I'm guilty- horribly so- of spending too much time on my phone. But I am so thankful for books like On a Magical Do-Nothing Day that remind us to slow down, look up, and enjoy life's simplest pleasures. There's nothing more beautiful than that.


Want the book? Get it here! On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, by Beatrice Alemagna.