Rona Sue London is the children’s book curator at The Ivy Bookshop. She has some recommendations for summer reading.
Another book that Rona is very excited about, which we didn’t have time to discuss in the above interview, is a moving debut novel—The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden—appropriate for ages 8-13. It explores the cultural divides around class and the gun debate through the eyes of one girl, living on the edges of society, trying to find her way forward. Seventh-grader Zoey has her hands full as she takes care of her much younger siblings after school every day while her mom works her shift at the pizza parlor. Zoey thinks how much easier everything would be if she were an octopus. When one of Zoey’s teachers forces her to join the debate club, even though she resists participating, debate ultimately leads her to see things in a new way, especially her mom’s relationship with an abusive boyfriend.