March 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh | SLJ Review

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redstarOH, Ellen, ed. Flying Lessons & Other Stories. 240p. Crown. Jan. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101934593.

flying-lessonsGr 4-6 –This anthology, published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, presents 10 short stories from a stellar list of authors: Kwame Alexander, Matt de la Peña, Jacqueline Woodson, Soman Chainani, Grace Lin, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Federle, Meg Medina, Tim Tingle, and Kelly Baptist. De la Peña’s linguistically grooving basketball story will have readers swaying in their seats. Verbal roadblocks are hurled at the protagonist from the street-smart players inside the gym: he’s too young, too skinny, too Mexican. His resolve yields multiple life lessons on and off the court. Woodson’s haunting “Main Street” follows Celeste, the only girl of color in an all-white New Hampshire town, and her friendship with lifetime resident Treetop. Both are suffering from different losses: Treetop’s mother has recently passed away, and Celeste isn’t accepted in her new home. Their warm connection soothes their mutual pain and promises to last even after Celeste and her mother decide to return to familiar and welcoming New York. Each tale offers realistic and fully developed characters with whom a wide range of readers will identify. VERDICT Inclusive, authentic, and eminently readable, this collection of short stories is an excellent addition for libraries and classrooms.–Diane McCabe, John Muir Elementary, Santa Monica, CA

This review was published in the School Library Journal November 2016 issue.



  1. Aurora V. Sanchez says:

    I saw Ellen and Meg speak at the National Book Festival this weekend. They were both genuine, funny and open. They mentioned that the YA version of this is forthcoming. What’s the title? What’s the ETA?