Ways to Build Dreams

Bloomsbury. (A Ryan Hart ­Story). Oct. 2023. 208p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547610181.
Gr 3-5–Ryan Hart, first introduced in Ways to Make Sunshine, is back. It’s almost the end of the school year, and Ryan and her friends are looking forward to all the closing activities before heading to middle school. Ryan is a thinker supported by a loving family. Nuggets of wisdom emerge throughout, as Ryan tries to determine what kind of person she wants to grow into, a more important consideration than what she wants to do as adult. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t still thinking about the perfect prank to get her older brother Ray! By the end of the school year, Ryan realizes that her final Black History Month project, the study of an Oregonian named Beatrice Morrow Cannady, has implications for today. She also comes to realize that her former nemesis Brandon isn’t so bad and has aspirations of his own. Helping Ray practice his poetry brings them closer; finally, Ryan learns that she and Kiki will attend the same middle school. Although this is a reflective book, readers will appreciate the recognizable daily activities, the kids’ concerns, and the warm relationship among them. There is a real charm to the characters and how they interact, demonstrating plausible growth in a effortless way.
VERDICT This novel can stand alone and is a sweet, solid purchase for both school and public libraries.

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