Have you ever done something because you were so mad or so scared and then after you did it, you kind of wished you hadn't done it? Like maybe you played a game of musical chairs at a birthday party and when the music stopped, it looked like there was no chair for you so you pulled the chair out from under your best friend and he fell on the floor?
Bea remembers that moment. She has an unlucky streak with birthday parties in general but that one does stand out as being one of her worst moments. Lucky for Bea, her best friend forgave her. His mother never did, but he did.
Bea is ten years old and in the fifth grade. She has had a few bumps in the road getting to this wise old age. When she was eight, her mother and father called her in for a meeting and she found out they were getting a divorce. Bea also learned that her dad is gay.
The divorce changes Bea's life. She goes home to two different houses depending on which day it is. She finds out she is getting a sister. She goes to therapy to talk about how it's going.
So, how do you navigate life when the things you know to be true go and change on you?
Some stories have giants in them. Some stories have car chases. This story has the ups and downs of Bea's life and they might seem a little bit smaller and a little bit quieter than those other wild adventures. But most of us know that the ups and downs of our own lives seem huge to us. Sometimes we hold feelings inside that don't seem to fit us. Sometimes we can't figure a way out of a situation and we do the wrong thing. This whole navigating thing can get pretty complicated.
One way Bea has found to make sense of her life is writing a list of everything in her life that would not change because change can be really scary and hard... just as scary as a ghost story only it's really happening to you. You need to know some things won't ever change. You need to have some things to hold on to.
This story gently invites us into the life and the ups and downs of a ten year old girl who is dealing with some big issues. As you read how Bea feels and what she thinks, you can really understand how it feels to walk in her shoes.
Rebecca Stead must be a world class people watcher. She must remember so many of the little moments that make up a day - a good day and a bad day. She must have a deep understanding of being a human with all the feelings, the mistakes and the challenges that come along even if you are ten years old.
She writes about life with a precision that is remarkable. She writes as though she just might know what it's like to be us and she writes to reassure us we can figure it out and we are going to make mistakes but in the end we will be able to hold on to all the important things and people in our lives who will not change.
How lovely to have a friend like Rebecca Stead. How lucky to find someone who lets us know we aren't "the only one" and we aren't alone in this navigating business.
Deeply touching, warmly reassuring, willing to ask some tough questions, and exquisitely respectful of the complexity of life and the wonder of two gifts - forgiveness and love.
Recommended by: Barb. Langridge, abookandahug.com
Bea's family may change, but their love for each other does not in this soon-to-be classic by the Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me
"Things are changing, Bea. But there's still a lot you can count on. Okay? Things that won't EVER change."
After her parents' divorce, Bea's life became different in many ways. But she can always look back at the list she keeps in her green notebook to remember the things that will stay the same. The first and most important: Mom and Dad will always love Bea, and each other.
When Dad tells Bea that he and his boyfriend, Jesse, are getting married, Bea is thrilled. Bea loves Jesse, and when he and Dad get married, she'll finally (finally!) have what she's always wanted--a sister. Even though she's never met Jesse's daughter, Sonia, Bea is sure that they'll be "just like sisters anywhere."
As the wedding day approaches, Bea will learn that making a new family brings questions, surprises, and joy, and readers will discover why the New York Times called Rebecca Stead a "writer of great feeling."---from the publisher
224 pages 978-1101938096 Ages 8-12
Keywords: change, divorce, gay and lesbian, family, love, LGBTQ, gay marriage, friendship, forgiveness, anxiety, worrying, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, therapy, acceptance, accepting others