Well, UMBRELLA SUMMER was a wonderful read. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! Lisa Graff has created another great middle grade novel. This book is about Annie--another character who I am sure will stay with me for a very long time. Annie is a worrier (those of you who know me well can see instantly why I can so easily relate to Annie as I am quite a worrier too:-) But Annie has only been a worrier since her older brother's sudden death a few months earlier. She is pretty sure that if she is careful, she can avoid lots of really bad things.
This is the story of grief and friendship and all of the the things that go along with that. As Annie continues to worry, she meets a neighbor who helps her through her sadness. She also discovers that sometimes a good book can help you make sense of things. It was difficult not to cry while reading this book. Possible, but pretty difficult.
For a third time, Lisa Graff has created great characters, a story with great themes and lots to think about. She seems to nail 10-11 year old kids and their issues. She definitely knows what a great age those middle level kids are--so smart and so amazing. She captures the age well again with Annie. This is more than a story about death and grief, although it captures those well.
I would definitely read this book aloud to 3rd, 4th, 5th graders. I love the title and think that kids could have great conversations talking about the title and theme because of it. It is very accessible to this age reader. The 3rd graders at our school LOVED The Thing About Georgie so they will be thrilled to see this new book by one of their favorite authors! (I will have to buy another copy for the library because I am keeping this one for myself!)
So, I am already anxiously awaiting Lisa Graff's next book. I am amazed that she has written 3 perfect books in 3 years. Not to put any pressure on her, but I am hoping she continues to write at least a book a year.
Did I mention that I LOVE the cover???