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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows the difficulties of adjusting to a broken family as well as what it's like for an immigrant confronting a new culture and foreign language. It will be relatable for tweens and teens who know how it feels to adjust to a new home or school.
It's possible to rise above misfortunes and dire disappointments, and to have the courage to stand alone.
Positive Role Models
Twelve-year-old Kasienka is believable and brave as she struggles with the difficulties and demands that a new life in a strange country has thrust upon her.
Violence & Scariness
No physical violence, but Kasienka experiences prejudice and bullying (snide remarks, being ostracized) at school. One of the students and her clique make fun of her clothes and her haircut, whisper and gossip about her, and exclude her. Kasienka thinks,"I am a fox surrounded by beagles. They will eat me alive and spit out the fat."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kasienka has a sweet romance with a boy he meets at the pool where she swims, and they kiss.
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There are insults made in anger among family members -- words such as "mule" and "crazy" -- and there are references to "Polacks" on a news flash. One of the students sends a mean note about Kasienka saying, "She's nasty."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan, author of Breathe, is a novel in free verse about a broken family and a young immigrant girl's struggle. After the father abandons his wife and 12-year-old daughter, Kasienka, and flees from Gdansk, Poland, to Coventry, England, Kasienka and her mother track him down there, only to find they find he's built a new life of which they are no longer a part. Somehow Kasienka must cope with her father's indifference, her mother's rage, and being bullied (mainly side remarks and being excluded) at her new school. She finds comfort and a sweet romance with a boy she meets at the pool where she swims, and they kiss.
Is It Any Good?
THE WEIGHT OF WATER is a coming-of-age novel in free verse. Author Sarah Crossan deals with heavy topics -- abandonment, bullying, adjustment to a life in a new country -- yet the narrative poem is lyrical, rich in sensory detail, and profoundly moving. About the missing father, Kasienka thinks, "Tata does not want to be found. He is in hiding -- he is hiding from us both,/ But I don't tell Mama this,/ Even when we're searching/ Night after night/ Street after street/ One door at a time/ and it's raining/ And I'm hungry,/ and teary,/ and tired. Because hope is all Mama has,/ And I cannot take it from her."
Crossan also gently treats Kasienka's awakening first love and emerging self-esteem.
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.