I was thrilled to be the yearbook editor my senior year of high school, class of ’89, but it turned to total crap. Fortunately, watching my dad have my back rocked my senior year. Since then, I’ve lost sleep remembering regrettable yearbook signings. Thinking back, I understand where the snark came from and how to differentiate the hateful from the … nah, it’s all hateful.
Jabari is every child who has made a frighteningly ambitious goal. Jabari will leap off the high dive, definitely, at some point. He prepared for this moment by taking swim lessons and passing his swim test. While it looks easy from afar, it takes guts to face the big moment and Jabari casually puts the task off until he is ready. He stretches, he observes successful jumpers, and he even makes a test run up (and back down) the ladder. Dad recognizes Jabari’s need to do things in his own time and gently provides the support required for Jabari to summon the courage to make a big leap.
A writing prompt given to my son last year asked him to create a list of five things. I’m revisiting it this year because 1) the list accurately reflects his thought process, 2) not only is it thoughtful and creative, it’s funny, 3) public schools, 4) he killed it on his PSAT, which is not related but brag-worthy anyway, and 5) today is his birthday. This is his list.
* with input from ParrishB, 6th grade, Mansfeld Middle School, Tucson
When I first mentioned Legend by Marie Lu in my personal and work social media feeds, I had to represent its dystopian goodness succinctly. I posted, “If Katniss and Gale were Romeo and Juliet: Legend by Lu.” I got that slightly wrong. Lu does love the Hunger Games so the feel fits, but it’s Les Miserables not Romeo and Juliet that inspired the relationship between Legend’s power couple. Whatever the case, I recommend buying your teen, your library, yourself this first book of a trilogy.