One Time


Sharon Creech must have been an amazing, unforgettable classroom teacher because she is an amazing teacher when she sits down to write a story.  Her voice, her reassuring presence all along as things go well and go poorly makes a young reader feel he/she/they is sitting in a sheltered place, held, protected and unleashed. Perfect place to learn something - especially about yourself.

In ONE TIME by Sharon Creech Eleven-year old Gina Filomena is heading back to school and hoping this year will not be like last year with her old teacher, Miss P.  Miss P was pointy and prickly and went by the book and the procedures surrounding sentence structure.  She taught with a complete disregard for the potential - the astounding potential - of the children in her "care."

Lucky for Gina, this year she is walking into the classroom of Miss Lightstone. This year Miss Lightstone is going to open up the children in front of her and give them an amazing question to answer: "Who are you?" It will be written on the board and it will stay there where they can see it and think about it every day.

Gina can answer that question a few different ways.  She has a father with an outstanding imagination and a mother who is willing to see how things are going to turn out.

She has an aunt and uncle who come to visit and make pasta for each other - it's how they show love.

She has a Nonna Filomena in Italy who sends her fabulous, wildly colorful  scarves and wristlets along with updates about what the Angel Lucia has done lately in the local town -sometimes these are lovely things involving accordions and sometimes they are angry things involving falling mice and lately, Gina has a new neighbor, Antonio, who shows up in her classroom  with his fascinating, inspiring smile and his phenomenal imagination...he turns the world into a very special place.

As the year goes along, the students in the class begin to reach inside themselves and discover amazing ideas and stories they didn't even know they held.  As the year goes along, Antonio enchants them with his perceptiveness and his magical ability to see them as the person they will become. Antonio makes me remember Dickon, the amazing boy in THE SECRET GARDEN. Both of these guys hold a sensitivity that makes a place where things can grow - up. You never want to let them go.

ONE TIME by Sharon Creech is the story of Gina and the kids in her class. This is the story of how you create a life for yourself one day at a time. This is the story of how kids can learn to see themselves or kids can be taught that it's wrong to let yourself be seen for who you really are. It's better to be a gray sheep.

At the heart of this story is a truth that has the power to explode the boundaries and the rules and the fears that other people hold on to. At the heart of this story is love and acceptance and the incredible thing we each hold inside of us that is our soul.

How amazing that every child who is given the chance to read this book is also being given the chance to live a great life and soar and be free to unleash themselves into the world. Let the angels come forth. What an amazing place that could be for all of us.

A treasure...a timeless treasure so deeply needed now.

272 pages 9780062570741 Ages 8-12

Keywords: finding yourself, believing in yourself, peer pressure, teachers, imagination, freedom, creative process, creative writing, writing, exploration, friends, friendship, finding your voice, identity, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, inspiration, wonder, self image

Recommended by: Barb Langridge,


Who are you? Who could you be?

Gina Filomena has been told she has an overactive imagination. With her bright clothing and artistic spirit, she's always felt different from the other kids in her class. That is, until she meets her new neighbor, a mysterious boy named Antonio with a wide, welcoming smile. Add in a creative new teacher, Miss Lightstone, and a world of possibilities opens up for Gina, Antonio, and their classmates. With the help of Antonio and Miss Lightstone, will Gina find the answers to the questions Who am I and Who do I want to be?

From Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech comes a tale about the transformative power of imagination and the journey to becoming who you are meant to be.


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