No, this blog title has nothing to do with me and my relationship with my older siblings! I just finished reading the first book in Sharon M. Draper’s new early chapter book series about a nine year old girl named Sassy. And the title of the first book is: Little Sister Is Not My Name!
As I was putting NEW stickers on some freshly processed children’s books the other day, I was intrigued by this book’s cover. I knew the book had gotten favorable reviews, but the cover just looks a wee bit commercial, so I decided that I’d best take it home and read it for myself. And while I was at it, I chose a few other younger juvenile books to read, too, since it occurred to me that I’ve been reading mostly intermediate/middle school and young adult books, but not much fiction for younger kids.
Little Sister is a quick, fun read, and I’m actually very impressed. The cover, cheesy though it is, will attract a lot of readers (primarily girls, which is too bad, because boys might enjoy the book too), and once the book is in their hands, I can practically guarantee that they’ll like it and be searching for the next book in the series. Sassy is a completely genuine child character: with very few exceptions, her voice and actions ring true. In my opinion, a well-portrayed child character is a rare beast, and it’s refreshing to meet Sassy and realize that if she weren’t fictional she could easily walk through the door of the library and start chatting with me about her Sassy Sack and boys and her friends and her Grammy.
Draper is an acclaimed teacher (see her official biography here – it’s impressive), and logic would say that her experience working with students helped her to create Sassy and her friends. If you know kids and understand them, you’re more likely to be able to create a fictional kid who walks, talks, and acts like a real kid.
I highly recommend this first book in the Sassy series, and can’t wait to put it in the hands of a couple of my favorite young library patrons.