Kate Messner has long been an author of must buy books. Her range and talent mean that she is represented quite well in my classroom library, and the students love her work as much as I do. Kate Messner gets it when it comes to writing books for kids about kids and that kids will want to book talk to others. She writes from the heart, yes, but she also writes from a deep place of wanting to make this world a better place for any kid who may need the book she has created. She writes so that children can find themselves in her books or can learn more about others. And that is the beauty of her latest book; it is a book that will not only allow children to relate, but also for them to learn about a reality that many children face, and often a reality that not many children share out loud.
The moment I heard about the controversy surrounding The Seventh Wish by Kate I was torn up about it. After all, here is a book that handles a topic that often is out of the maturity range for students and yet is so gravely needed in our middle grade classrooms. In fact, I wrote a blog post dedicated to the preservation of hard topic books and why they are so important for our classroom libraries. The Seventh Wish is about figuring yourself out, reconnecting with your family, and yes, it is also about a child dealing with an older sibling’s addiction problem and the effects on the family. The Seventh Wish is a book I wish didn’t have to be written, but it does, and it is so well done. And the thing is, this book is not “just” about opiate addiction and the effects of it on a family. It is about a girl trying to come to terms with what it means to be a middle schooler, who is trying to create the type of life she envisions for herself.
This book can be handled to those who may have experiences with drug addiction, but even more so, it can be handed to those who haven’t. And while it may not be a great fit for some kids, it is for others, and it is for those kids that this book should be a part of a classroom library. So yes, this book is appropriate for the grades it is written for. Yes, this book is needed in our classroom libraries. Yes, this book is not too much, nor too mature for our students. It is a book that will stay with you for a long time, that can lead to discussions, that can lead to a kid perhaps making better choices later in life. I don’t often give books 5 stars, I am rather stingy that way, but this book. This one got 5 stars.
For a much better worded review, please see the Barnes and Nobles Kid Blog.
Charlie feels like she’s always coming in last. From her Mom’s new job to her sister’s life away at college, everything else always seems to be more important than Charlie’s upcoming dance competition or science project. Unsure of how to get her family’s attention, Charlie comes across the surprise of her life one day while ice-fishing . . . in the form of a floppy, scaly fish offering to grant her a wish in exchange for its freedom. Charlie can’t believe her luck until she realizes that this fish has a funny way of granting wishes, despite her best intentions. But when her family faces a challenge bigger than any they’ve ever experienced, Charlie wonders if some things might be too important to risk on a wish.