A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book provides a kid-friendly portrayal of a person with Alzheimer's. Hurricane Katrina, and how communities were affected by it, is a subtopic. There's also a depiction of a girl in foster care, with some details that demystify the experience of being in foster care. The concept of racial tension in the U.S. South is presented through the story of an older-adult character who is of Black and White heritage.
Stay true to your people. Use your gifts to serve others. Hard times can bring out the best in people.
Positive Role Models
This book features an African American cast. It offers positive portrayals of a person with a limb difference, a family navigating divorce, and tweens who become activists and leaders. Adult characters give care and support to their neighbors and extended family, which creates a safe, loving community for all, even in the face of trouble.
Violence & Scariness
A woman with Alzheimer's dementia slaps her caregiver, her adult niece, across the face. There are a few mentions of the KKK, which the children understand to be scary, but there are no descriptions of violence.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Forever This Summer, by Leslie C. Youngblood, brings back the main characters readers met in Love Like Sky, 11-year-old Georgie, her parents, her sister, Peaches, and her best friend Nikki. Georgie and her mom, Katrina, are in Bogalusa, Louisiana, for the summer, getting Katrina's Aunt Vie's affairs in order. Aunt Vie was proprietress of a popular restaurant, but now she's declining from Alzheimer's. Georgie befriends Markie, a girl with a limb difference who's living in a foster home and is on a search for her biological parents. A woman with Alzheimer's dementia slaps her caregiver, her adult niece, across the face. There are a few mentions of the KKK, which the children understand to be scary, but there are no descriptions of violence.
Is It Any Good?
This is a complex and heartwarming book. In Forever This Summer, author Leslie J. Youngblood takes on a number of issues young readers might find confusing or scary: an older relative with Alzheimer's, a sibling who goes to the hospital with a serious illness, divorce, a new baby, and even why the grown-ups are mean to the nice woman with dual-race heritage. She does a great job of introducing these topics the way an 11-year-old might discover them and puzzle together an understanding. The number of these topics can get a little overwhelming. Sometimes the book feels packed with too many things at once. Other times, it feels like an interesting subplot is moving along too slowly as the next topic takes the foreground.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.