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Flying Lessons and Other Stories
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Flying Lessons and Other Stories is a collection edited by Ellen Oh, co-founder of the We Need Diverse Books campaign. It features work by award-winning authors Kwame Alexander, Matt de la Peña, Walter Dean Meyers, Grace Lin, and Jacqueline Woodson, among others. There are some instances of bullying, child slavery (in an earlier time period), characters dealing with racial stereotypes, budding possible same-sex and heterosexual crushes, the death of a parent, and alcoholism in a parent.
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What's the story?
In FLYING LESSONS AND OTHER STORIES, 10 celebrated authors create short stories for kids in a variety of genres and reflecting a variety of perspectives. Some stories focus on sports or family; others weave magical folktales; some have heartache and triumph. Each story features characters of different ethnicities, genders, orientation, family makeup, and more, but those differences are not what's highlighted. Kids' common dreams, pain, family struggles, and excitements are conveyed in each story, giving every reader -- whether the character looks like the reader or not -- something to identify with, learn about, and explore.
Is it any good?
Each story in this riveting collection is a gem that parents and kids alike will enjoy reading again and again. The stories are exciting, endearing, thoughtful, and refreshingly normal. Flying Lessons and Other Stories, edited by Ellen Oh, cofounder of the We Need Diverse Books campaign, features diverse characters, authors, subjects, and perspectives. But perhaps the most wonderful aspect of this collection is that race, creed, sexual orientation, and other such characteristics are not the main drivers of the stories. Some are simply slice-of-life tales that portray race and sexual orientation as being a part of everyday life -- a refreshing outlook often missing from stories that feature diverse characters.
Editor Oh and the all-star roster of authors show that books and stories featuring diverse characters and situations have no limits in terms of subject matter, time period, genre, or writing style.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the themes they identify with in Flying Lessons and Other Stories. What stories appeal to you, and why? Did you find any recurring themes among the stories? What perspectives were new to you?
There are many styles of story in the book, from historical fiction to sports-related tales. Why is it important to read stories written in different styles and genres?
Why do you think it's important for kids' books to showcase kids of different genders and a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.