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From Sharon Creech, Newbery Medal winner and New York Times bestselling author, comes a powerful coming-of-age story of a girl who discovers the endless possibilities her future may hold, with help...
From Sharon Creech, Newbery Medal winner and New York Times bestselling author, comes a powerful coming-of-age story of a girl who discovers the endless possibilities her future may hold, with help...
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  • From Sharon Creech, Newbery Medal winner and New York Times bestselling author, comes a powerful coming-of-age story of a girl who discovers the endless possibilities her future may hold, with help from a brilliant teacher and a boy with a generous smile.

    Perfect for fans of Love That Dog, this tale is about the transformative power of imagination and the journey to becoming who you are meant to be. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, at home or at school. It's a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.

    Gina Filomena has been told she has an overactive imagination. With her bright clothing and artistic spirit, she's always felt different from the other kids in her class. That is, until she meets her new neighbor, a mysterious boy named Antonio with a wide, welcoming smile.

    Add in a creative new teacher, Miss Lightstone, and a world of possibilities opens up for Gina, Antonio, and their classmates. With the help of Antonio and Miss Lightstone, will Gina find the answers to the questions Who am I? and Who do I want to be?

About the Author-

  • Sharon Creech has written twenty-one books for young people and is published in over twenty languages. Her books have received awards in both the U.S. and abroad, including the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor for The Wanderer, and Great Britain's Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler.

    Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for fifteen years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine, "lured there by our grandchildren," Creech says.

    www.sharoncreech.com

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2020
    A standout teacher and mysterious new student open the minds and notebooks of Gina Filomena and her fellow classmates. Eleven-year-old Gina has always felt different from the other students. She has a bright imagination and a vibrant wardrobe to match. In new neighbor Antonio she finds a friend whose wild mind seems connected with hers. At school, their English teacher, Miss Lightstone, poses questions that ask students to imagine both who they are and who they could be. Through her writing prompts, Gina, her classmates, and readers simultaneously discover that with most people there is far more than meets the eye. Newbery-winning Creech skillfully catches Gina at the point in life when a child's small world opens up into a much wider adult one. As Gina navigates this transition, the line between real and imagined is blurred. What is Antonio really seeing when he spins his tales? How much havoc is her Italian Nonna's fabled Angel Lucia actually responsible for? Gina's eventual revelations about how the lives of her family, neighbors, and classmates unfold flesh some of this out, but the story never feels wholly complete. Fans of Creech's hallmark beautiful writing won't be disappointed even if the story reads like an idea not fully realized. Main characters default to White; some names cue diversity in secondary characters. A shallow but engaging dip into a story and characters worthy of a deeper dive. (sources) (Fiction. 9-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 3, 2020
    Eleven-year-old Gina Filomena lives in Ohio with her mother and father. In the past, her colorful clothes and imaginative stories about Angel Lucia—both sent by her Italian nonna—have garnered unwanted attention at school, including bullying cries of “Gina gypsy.” But her new teacher, Miss Lightstone, also wears colorful clothes and encourages her students to write with abandon. When Gina’s friendly new neighbor, Antonio, joins her class, his “wide, gleaming, welcoming smile” and unusual observations (“There was a porcupine here—right here—eating licorice”) enthrall her classmates. With the help of her eclectic teacher and perceptive Antonio, with whom she finds herself mentally connected, Gina begins to see the world differently, questioning who she is, who she might become, and what possibilities life holds for her and for her classmates. In short, vignette-like chapters, Newbery Medalist Creech (Walk Two Moons) expertly develops a relatable, amusingly foibled cast—including Gina’s inquisitive schoolmates and demanding Italian relatives—and classroom verve conveyed via a scriptlike immediacy. Threaded with themes of friendship, acceptance, and self-discovery, Gina’s story slowly unfolds, reminding readers that it’s okay to imagine life’s possibilities while still accepting its undeniable realities. Ages 8–12. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2020
    Grades 4-6 When Antonio moves into 11-year-old Gina's neighborhood, she feels an immediate connection with the boy, who charms their classmates as well. Their young language arts teacher, who starts the year by writing Who are you? on the board, encourages reflection, imagination, and self-expression, while instilling a love of writing in her students. Later that year, when Antonio leaves suddenly, the loss is painful, particularly for Gina. The last chapter picks up her first-person story 20 years later, as she reflects on her experiences and tells what paths she, Antonio, and their former classmates have chosen. Written in short chapters with lively and sometimes amusing characterizations of adults as well as kids, this is a quiet book, but an engaging one. There's something haunting about Creech's portrayal of the increasingly writing-obsessed school class and the boy whose absence was so keenly felt at the time and whose presence was remembered years later. And on the last page, Gina wonders about the reader, asking, Who are you? Who could you be? A thought-provoking chapter book from start to finish.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • School Library Journal

    October 9, 2020

    Gr 3-7-Gina feels too unique for her classmates who scoff at her colorful Italian scarves and her equally vibrant imagination. When a mysterious new boy with a dazzling smile proves to be even more fanciful than Gina, the class is spellbound. Under the guidance of Miss Lightstone, whose unconventional teaching draws some negative attention, the students discover words and worlds within themselves. She begins with writing, "Who are you," and some first sentences of modern classics (Holes, Clementine, and Harbor Me, for example) on the board and asking the students to ponder the question. Most of the students are confused or skeptical, but they all fall, some more willingly than others, into the swirl of creative writing. Although this is not a novel in verse, Creech's short sentences, meticulous word choices, and wit show rhythm and poetry. The dialogue particularly showcases the author's skill. A celebration of writing and reflection with memorable characters and a touch of magical realism, this book is sure to be a hit with both young readers and their teachers. VERDICT This is a deceptively simple ballad to creative writing. Like Creech's own Love That Dog with a nod to Roald Dahl's Miss Honey from Matilda, and Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl, this book spotlights an inspirational teacher with a passion for thoughtfulness and words, and the children who thrive in this creative collaboration.-Elaine Fultz, Oakwood City Sch., Dayton, OH

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • AudioFile Magazine Jesse Vilinsky delivers the first-person narrative of 11-year-old Gina Filomena. Most teachers say Gina doesn't pay attention, but "they mean I'm not paying attention to them." Vilinsky's youthful voice defines a perceptive girl whose poetic vision is reflected in her lyrical expressions. Her views are matched by those of Antonio, who moves in next door. Vilinsky captures the spark of their creative young teacher, Miss Lightstone, who transforms her students by teaching them how to read, write, and see more deeply. Gina's sneering classmates' shift to a kinder way of being is also convincingly portrayed. The secondary characters in this story make it possible for Gina to begin trusting in herself and who she might become. S.W. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine

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