Raymie Nightingale

Book review by Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Raymie Nightingale Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 10+

Tragedy, triumph, and wisdom in funny, heartfelt tween tale.

Parents say

age 12+

Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+

Based on 3 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 10+

Don't underestimate your tween

My daughter, who just turned 11, and I still enjoy reading together. Her school has assigned both Winn Dixie and Edward Tulane in recent years and she loved them both so we're more or less reading the DiCamillo canon together now. While all her novels touch on adult themes, this one really packs a punch - affairs, poverty, abuse, aging and death. It sounds over the top but truthfully it's not - the book acknowledges the reality tweens see around them, which we adults hope to gloss over. Or we're too busy dealing with these major life events and forget to check in on our children. I was glad we read this together so we could stop and talk about the choices the adults made, as well as the kids. But I have to admit my daughter surprised me with her understanding and maturity. Reading together also allowed us to talk about life in the 70s, without cell phones, etc. There is a huge lesson for adults in this book: the adults Raymie relies on to ground her as she deals with the very recent departure of her father are not close family - it's a lifesaving instructor from the previous summer, her father's receptionist, a nurse at a hospital ER. So, fellow grownups, remember this when you interact with a child - any child. Your small acts of kindness and patience could be a lifeline for someone you hardly know, for years to come.

This title has:

Great messages
age 12+

One of the most heartwretching yet beautiful I've read

Kate DiCamillo does an outstanding job telling the story of Raymie and how she meets two girls named Louisiana and Beverly at a baton twirling class. Raymie has learned that her father left her motehr for a younger woman, and she hopes that winning a beauty pagant will inspire him to come back. Raymie's friends also deal with a lot of emotional and psychological trauma as well (Louisiana is under the care of her "eccentric" grandmother as they are in poverty and Beverly suffers from implied verbal and emotional abuse at the hand of her mother). Their interactions with one another are meaningful and powerful, showing the beautiful bond these three girls share. It's a short read but its message of self-love is so fundamental for young tweens and teens.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Book Details

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