Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lisa Graff is 3 for 3!

I have to admit, I was a little bit worried when I picked up my copy of Lisa Graff's brand new UMBRELLA SUMMER at Cover to Cover this week. I LOVE Lisa Graff. I recommend THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE as a read aloud to almost everyone who asks for good middle grade read-alouds.  I love THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF BERNETTA WALLFLOWER. Bernetta is one of those characters who has stayed with me--I find her popping into my brain once in a while. So, as I was saying I was a little bit worried about this 3rd book.  Could it really be as good as her first two?  Could it meet my expectations?

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???


  1. Wow! That was a fast read! I'm so glad you liked it. I'm going to read it right after I reread When You Reach Me -- another book I just can't quite let go of.

  2. It is in my pile!!! I am so relieved to read your review!!

  3. Anonymous6:31 AM

    Sounds great! I also loved The Thing About Georgie, but REALLY didin't like the Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower. It does have a great cover-I've noticed that there are quite a few lately that don't show the faces-only legs and an item-I wonder if it is the same photographer?

  4. See how much I miss when I don't come here? I didn't even know this was out. Must. read.


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