cover image When I Was Your Age, Volume One: Original Stories about Growing Up

When I Was Your Age, Volume One: Original Stories about Growing Up

Mary Pope Osborne. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-306-3

Some of the entries in this memorable anthology are hauntingly sad and several are sharply witty; every single one is expertly crafted and engrossing. In response to Ehrlich's request for an autobiographical story, 10 accomplished children's authors have contributed original pieces that underscore both the diversity and timelessness of youth and adolescence. Sibling rapports and rivalries, feeling alone, and the fervent quest for parental approval and peer acceptance are common threads here. Mary Pope Osborne describes her uncommon attachment to a rubber ball, a gift from her father on the eve of his departure for post-war Korea. Avi humorously recounts his attempt to save face during a rain-drenched camping trip with two friends. In two of the collection's hardest-hitting tales, Susan Cooper shows how World War II invades the already beleaguered life of a British schoolgirl; and Francesca Lia Block describes a sensitive girl coping with her mother's desertion. Each contributor follows up his or her story with a brief but enlightening commentary. Fans of all ages will savor these perceptively chosen, affectingly disclosed episodes from the lives of favorite writers. Ages 9-14. (Mar.)