Saturday, October 01, 2005

School Plays

Yikes. It's October already, nearly time for the first school play of the year!

Elizabeth Ward reviews three new books "for younger readers" for the Washington Post. All three books have at their center the school play.

Ward writes that Swimming in the Monsoon Sea , by Shyam Selvadurai, "is also that rare thing, a coming-of-age story that transcends labels and deserves to be called literature, plain and simple." Selvadurai has published two novels before and while not specifically for young people, they are all coming-of-age stories.

Bruce Clements' What Erica Wants focuses on a girl in the center of a divorce. The chapters alternate between her voice and the voice of her clinical psychologist. A role in the school play helps Erica to find her own way in the divorce and the world.

Finally Sharon Creech has a new one: Replay. The tale of a twelve-year-old boy stuck in the middle (aren't we all to some degree?), Leo finds validation in his drama teacher's school play, "Rumpopo's Porch." Ward writes that, "the book comes in scenes, not chapters, and includes a cast list and the complete, very funny text of 'Rumpopo's Porch.'"

Ward has a way of selecting really good kids' books and I always look forward to her column.