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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Personal relationships, not information, is the focus of this book. However, there are a few educational messages woven into the story, including how to use the library and the concept of helping out the unhoused people in the community.
A little kindness goes a long way. Be patient in the face of frustration. Protect yourself in relationships, but give people the benefit of the doubt.
Positive Role Models
Depicts an African American family living in mostly White Portland, Oregon. A loving, extended family comes together to make challenging times manageable. Creative teachers proactively shut down possible conflicts in the classroom and facilitate children's making friends.
Violence & Scariness
In one chapter, pranks on adults and other children get out of hand.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ways to Grow Love is the second book in the Ryan Hart series from Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together), a New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award. It continues the story of Ryan, an African American rising fifth-grade girl who lives in Portland, Oregon, with her parents and older brother, Ray. The close-knit family is expecting a new baby girl. It's summertime, and Ryan and Ray are looking foward to church camp with their friends. In one chapter, pranks on adults and other children get out of hand. Illustrations by Nina Mata add to the fun.
Is It Any Good?
More a series of vignettes than a single story with drive, this book will be most appealing to readers on the younger side. In Ways to Grow Love, author Renée Watson moves ahead with the set of characters introduced in Ways to Make Sunshine and keeps alive the tradition of plucky girl heroes like Ramona the Pest. The characters are likable, and even the mean girl eventually comes around and makes friends with everyone. The weakness of the story is that tensions resolve too quickly to put characters to the test and let them reveal a lot of depth.
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.
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