|We dream of space|
Author: Kelly, Erin Entrada
Cash, Fitch, and Bird Thomas are three siblings in seventh grade together in Park, Delaware. In 1986, as the nation waits expectantly for the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, they each struggle with their own personal anxieties.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 509477
Newbery Honor, 2021
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/20)
School Library Journal (04/01/20)
Booklist (+) (03/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/06/20)
The Hornbook (+) (00/05/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/01/2020 *Starred Review* The prolific, Newbery Medal–winning Kelly contemplates space exploration and sibling bonds in her latest captivating novel. Twins Fitch and Bird and their older brother Cash each have strikingly different personalities and carry on largely separate lives, retreating to their rooms and hobbies to escape their parents’ frequent bickering and criticism. Kelly begins her chronicles of the Nelson-Thomas siblings on January 1, 1986, bookending the narrative with the hopes of a fresh year and the historic launch of the space shuttle Challenger. Although some readers may not be familiar with the Challenger mission, the book’s lead-up to the tragedy is propelled by the siblings’ alternating perspectives and the advancement of the calendar days represented by each chapter, giving readers the sensation of a countdown and resulting in absorbing momentum. Kelly deftly contrasts the hope and possibility of space exploration with the tempestuous home life of the Nelson-Thomas kids, where so much seems mundane and out of their control. The author never shies from difficult realities—whether national tragedy or domestic troubles—and offers no tidy solutions, instead allowing her characters a newfound sense of agency and the sweet reward of finding solace in each other. Another wondrous title from a remarkably talented author. Includes a section with information about Challenger and recommended resources. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Award-winning Kelly is showing no signs of slowing her climb to the heights of kidlit fame. Be prepared for lots of requests for this one. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2020 Gr 4–6—It's January 1986, and siblings Bird, Fitch, and Cash's seventh grade science classes are anticipating the Challenger shuttle launch at the end of the month. Twins Bird and Fitch are now in the same grade as their older brother Cash, who is repeating the year. Cash's grades are poor, Fitch can't control his temper, and Bird dreams of becoming an astronaut, but her mother only talks to her about dieting. All three siblings sink into separate coping mechanisms when their parents' daily bickering inevitably erupts into fights. Entrada Kelly tells the story through each sibling's viewpoint in distinct and engaging voices, giving readers a choice of characters to relate to. The Nelson-Thomas family is white, Bird's friend Devonte is African American, and teacher Ms. Salonga has a Filipina surname. Entrada Kelly creates a vivid historical setting by being selective with 1980s details and highlighting elements with high kid appeal, such as arcade games and popular TV shows. There is similar restraint in recounting the Challenger explosion, depicted only by its effect on the characters rather than used gratuitously to complete a dramatic arc. There is no forced march towards a resolution, and the book simply ends with a greater resilience on the part of Cash, Fitch and Bird, along with an awareness that, by joining forces, they have the power to form the family they want themselves. VERDICT Lyrical but direct writing, relatable characters, and an engaging 1980s setting give this thoughtful read high appeal for middle grade readers.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.