In the tradition of Crenshaw and The Thing About Jellyfish, ten-year-old Hannah copes with the bullies at school and troubles at home through the power of stories in this sweet and sincere debut.
Tenacious. That means strong-willed. My mother calls me that.
I wish I felt the same way.
If this were a story, I would discover I was a direct descendent of a famous soldier who won countless battles and protected hundreds of people. This resilience running through my veins wouldn’t be damaged by the notes; it would fight off bullies and prevent my parents from yelling at each other.
But this is not a story. This is real life. My life as ten-year-old Hannah Geller, who is the only girl in fifth grade to have little red bumps on her face, is unable to let the sad thoughts escape her mind, and leaves heads-up pennies wherever she can to spread good luck.
And who also finds magic in the most unlikely of places.--from the publisher
256 pages 978-1534420618 Ages 8-12
This sweet and soaring debut by Beth Turley introduces readers to nine-year old Hannah. Hannah is in fifth grade. She wishes her parents would stop their fighting. When they fight, she turns to her stuffed elephant, Ambrose. One night, Ambrose comes to life and has a conversation with Hannah. He tells her that he'll always be there for her as long as she needs him.
Bullies at school are bothering Hannah. Someone even wrote a note and left it where she'd find it. It said: Nobody likes Hannah. Her teacher demands to see the note and warns the class they will be punished for their behavior. Hannah is sent to her counselor for a "talk." Hannah parents are called and they pull together to help Hannah feel better. Hannah is happy to see her parents stop their fighting.
Hannah's best friend Courtney seems to be distancing herself from Hannah. There is trouble on all fronts, so Hannah puts her energy into practicing for the spelling bee. An avid speller and lover of vocabulary words, Hannah is in her element when learning new words and using them. She daydreams frequently and is creative and imaginative. She imagines how scenes would turn out, "if this were a story," but then she counters by saying, "...but this is real life, so..." Ambrose the elephant becomes her constant source of comfort as things spiral down. Hannah can't wait until she meets upper grade pen pal Ashley, but when she does, Ashley isn't as "cool" or fun as Hannah had envisioned.
Readers will be surprised by the twist in the ending which will lead to spirited classroom discussions about bullying and its effect on everyone involved.
Not to be missed for its timely topic and masterful storytelling, If This Were a Story is likely to earn many state awards. Can you say Texas Bluebonnet? You heard it here first.
Highly recommended grade 3-6. Bullying.
Recommended by: Pamela Thompson, Librarian, Texas USA
See more of her recommendations: https://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com