Parents' Guide to

Sunnyside Plaza

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Brilliant, complex disability tale best for mature readers.

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Narrator Sal Gal may see things differently, but she doesn't let other people's prejudices stop her from acting to save her group home in Scott Simon's unusual tale of spirit and determination. Along the way, she meets a lot of kind people who broaden her horizons with baseball games, picnics, and holiday celebrations -- and also a lot of mean people who mock her and her friends for being developmentally disabled and who act like they're not worth much. Solving the problem of unexpected deaths in the home -- which might cause Sunnyside Plaza to shut down and leave its residents to an unknown fate -- takes luck, persistence, and collaboration.

Sally's narrative voice, punctuated with random lines from TV commercials and assorted numbers, is determined, engaging, and kid-like, which, coming from an apparent adult, may be too much of an imaginative leap for many younger readers. But if you can make that leap, you're in for quite a ride with a person you'll be glad you met: "I know more than I can say. I know things I don't know how to say. Even if I have heard words and know them, I can't always say them. Sometimes it feels like I have a rock inside that sits on words. But I hear things and see things. I notice and figure out things. It's all here, inside."

Book Details

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