April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: The Encyclopedia of Me

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girl standing on booksRIVERS, Karen. The Encyclopedia of Me. 248p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-31028-4; ebook $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-46951-7. LC 2011046292.
Gr 5-8
–Diminutive, biracial, freckled Isadora “Tink” Aaron-Martin is grounded for most of the summer after an incident with her best friend. She decides to write an encyclopedia, and in spite of the artificiality of the alphabetical format, Rivers has created a warm, funny, fast-paced story about an endearing middle schooler who keeps her cool and sense of humor when events spin out of control. Tink explains her role as the “Peacemaker” in a dysfunctional family whose lives tiptoe around the moods and rages of Tink’s autistic older brother, Seb. As the summer progresses she finds friendship and a tender and diffident love interest in the boy next door, is humiliated in a disastrous photo shoot for a magazine article about families living with autistic children, and becomes good at skateboarding, an activity that replaces the detested ballet classes she has been taking at her mother’s behest. When Seb becomes violent, leaving his twin brother badly hurt, Tink finally decides she has had enough of her peacemaking role. “Z” finds her in the arms of her boyfriend at the Zetroc Prom. Rivers delivers an appealingly heroine in Tink. She is original and authentic, and her story flows easily in spite of the tricky format.–Jane Barrer, Steinway Intermediate School, Long Island City, NY