Sunday, October 4, 2009

Katherine Paterson. FLIP-FLOP GIRL

How timely. Katherine Paterson just received a lifetime achievement award from the International Board on Books for Young People today! Well-deserved!
Vinnie is already dealing with the death of her father when her mother uproots her and her brother to go live with her grandmother in a new town. She’s angry and she feels guilty about her brother. Mason has stopped talking or eating. She thinks it’s because of her yelling at him at the funeral. In the new town, the only positive is her new teacher. She likes him a lot, and he seems to care about her. Then she encounters a mysterious girl who has a rare confidence about her, even though she appears to be an outcast. Her name is Lupe. She doesn’t have any decent clothes and she appears to only have one pair of shoes, orange flip-flops. Plus, while it bothered Vinnie that no one wanted to talk to her or play with her, Lupe seemed oblivious to this and happily played hopscotch alone. Perhaps this girl, this flip-flop girl, will be just the friend she needs.
This is a wonderful, honest depiction of the emotions a child goes through after a death. Vinnie’s anger and loneliness are intense. Lupe is an intriguing character. It’s a meaningful and compelling story you won’t soon forget.
Check out her website for more by Paterson (you know her from Bridge to Terabithia, Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved, etc...)