DeeDee is a fourth grader with a growing list of problems. The family trailer burned to the ground and now they’re living in a crowded apartment. Her father disappeared at Thanksgiving. She fears he’s returned to Mexico and will never see him again. There’s also a different school to contend with and a new diagnosis of diabetes. An older brother and sister add to her woes.
The story is narrated by DeeDee. She and her classmates act a few years older than the fourth graders I’ve known. At first, DeeDee is not the most likeable character. She’s highly critical of others and has taken to stealing petty items whenever the opportunity allows. But you grow to love her.
The choices she makes will hit home to many kids going through similar physical and friend challenges. It’s a perfect book that shows diversity in a variety of ways. Much of what DeeDee learns comes through her observations and relationships, especially with a possible new friend, River. He has his own set of challenges but handles them in a much different way.
I’m crossing out the D and giving DeeDee an A!
PUBLICATION DATE: 2018 PAGE COUNT: 290
THE OFFICIAL PLOT (From Sky Pony Press)
DeeDee’s life is full of D’s. Missing her dad, who’s disappeared. Distracted by her sister’s quinceañera and her brother dropping out of high school. Disappointing her family by struggling in her new school. Being diagnosed with diabetes. So many D’s she worries she’ll never fit in, and worse, never find the best friend she’s always wanted.
Then she meets River, her new neighbor with cochlear implants and finds they have the same interests. Art. Dance. Skateboarding. And they both miss their dads. But while DeeDee struggles to adjust to her new circumstances and life with diabetes, River embraces life, even his differences. River offers to help search for DeeDee’s dad and coach her in skateboarding and the two become friends. River even encourages her to participate in her school’s Spring Fling talent show.
Then River transfers to DeeDee’s new school. Instead of sticking up for him and risking being made fun of, DeeDee makes mistake after mistake until she’s forced to decide: keep the best friend she’s always wanted by standing up to her classmates, or stay silent and lose River forever? Before DeeDee can be a good friend she must learn to love differences—not just River’s but also her own.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:
ANOTHER D FOR DEEDEE
- You’ll understand the challenges a person with diabetes faces thanks to DeeDee’s spot on portrayal of what she goes through.
- River is like a cool summer breeze and his character added depth to the story. He could be the poster child for friendship.
- The audience for the topics in this book extend all the way up to adults. Everyone learns something about themselves or others by reading this story.
- Each chapter title begins with D IS FOR… Words like Dare, Denial, and Detective hint at the scenes forthcoming. It’s a great way to frame each chapter.
- The mark of a good story is finding a bit of sadness in your heart when it ends. I wanted to follow DeeDee’s story further.
I will not let my distinctions make me feel weak or afraid. I will not let others force me to be someone I’m not. I will accept myself. I’m doing the best I can.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Bibi’s author website):
Bibi Belford is the author middle grade fiction, including ‘Canned and Crushed’ and ‘Crossing the Line’. She graduated with a BA in English from Westmont College and completed her master’s in bilingual literacy at Northern Illinois University. She’s been a classroom teacher, reading teacher, and literacy coach in East Aurora, Illinois’s elementary schools, and a volunteer for Chicago public schools.
Belford lives in Chicago, Illinois and enjoys books, beaches, gardening, and spending time with her grandkids.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Also… a heads-up for this coming Friday. I’ll have a giveaway of Nomad’s Press impressive four book Renaissance collection. Perfect for ages 10 and up, the series would be a super addition to a child or teacher’s library.