cover image Flying Lessons & Other Stories

Flying Lessons & Other Stories

Ellen Oh. Crown, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-101-93459-3

This short story collection, edited and introduced by We Need Diverse Books cofounder Oh, features 10 stories “for all of us” from authors who include Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Meg Medina, and Walter Dean Myers. Each story stands on its own, but the collection as a whole highlights the importance of perspective, perseverance, wonder, courage, and creativity during the middle school years. A thoughtful entry from Matt de la Peña, written in second person, centers on a Mexican-American teenager who does well at school but sees basketball as a “path to those tree-lined lives they always show on TV.” In Grace Lin’s delightful “The Difficult Path,” literacy proves an unexpected ticket to a life with pirates for a Chinese girl eager to escape an arranged marriage. And Jacqueline Woodson’s elegiac “Main Street” focuses on the relationship between an 11-year-old white girl and her “tall and brown and beautiful” best friend in a New Hampshire town where “the leaves were the only color.” Thought provoking and wide-ranging, this first anthology from WNDB should not be missed. Ages 8–12. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Jan.)