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Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd)

Cover of Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd)

Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd)

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From the author of the successful Friends for Keeps series comes Wren Jo Byrd, a nine-year-old introvert whose life has gone topsy-turvy ever since her dad moved out.
"By turns heartbreaking and heartwarming—exactly like real life. Julie Bowe takes on the tough questions about what it means to be honest, to be a good friend, and to be a family, and offers answers that, while not always easy, are always true."—Linda Urban, author of Weekends with Max and A Crooked Kind of Perfect
"Bowe so masterfully took me inside the head and heart of Wren Jo Byrd that I felt like a ten year old again—and loved every minute."—Barbara O'Connor, author of How to Steal a Dog
It's the start of a new school year and Wren Jo Byrd is worried that everyone will find out her parents separated over the summer. No one knows the truth, not even her best friend, Amber. When even her new teacher refers to her mom as Mrs. Byrd, Wren decides to keep their divorce a total secret. But something else changed over the summer: A new girl named Marianna moved to town and wants to be Amber's next bff. And because of her fib, Wren can't do anything about it. From take-out dinners with Mom to the tiny room she gets at Dad's new place, nothing is the same for Wren anymore. But while Marianna makes everything harder at first, Wren soon learns that Marianna once had to ask many of the same questions—the big ones, as well as the little ones—that Wren is asking now.
Set in Wisconsin, with wonderfully nuanced characters—from the bossy new girl, who acts big but has a secret of her own, to the sporty girl who acts little and shy but who becomes an unexpected friend—this is a book about much more than divorce.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the author of the successful Friends for Keeps series comes Wren Jo Byrd, a nine-year-old introvert whose life has gone topsy-turvy ever since her dad moved out.
"By turns heartbreaking and heartwarming—exactly like real life. Julie Bowe takes on the tough questions about what it means to be honest, to be a good friend, and to be a family, and offers answers that, while not always easy, are always true."—Linda Urban, author of Weekends with Max and A Crooked Kind of Perfect
"Bowe so masterfully took me inside the head and heart of Wren Jo Byrd that I felt like a ten year old again—and loved every minute."—Barbara O'Connor, author of How to Steal a Dog
It's the start of a new school year and Wren Jo Byrd is worried that everyone will find out her parents separated over the summer. No one knows the truth, not even her best friend, Amber. When even her new teacher refers to her mom as Mrs. Byrd, Wren decides to keep their divorce a total secret. But something else changed over the summer: A new girl named Marianna moved to town and wants to be Amber's next bff. And because of her fib, Wren can't do anything about it. From take-out dinners with Mom to the tiny room she gets at Dad's new place, nothing is the same for Wren anymore. But while Marianna makes everything harder at first, Wren soon learns that Marianna once had to ask many of the same questions—the big ones, as well as the little ones—that Wren is asking now.
Set in Wisconsin, with wonderfully nuanced characters—from the bossy new girl, who acts big but has a secret of her own, to the sporty girl who acts little and shy but who becomes an unexpected friend—this is a book about much more than divorce.
From the Hardcover edition.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    580
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    2 - 3

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Chapter 1

    Can Two Make a Family?

    Lots of things have changed since my last first week of school.

  • Most of my baby teeth have fallen out and the big ones are filling in.

  • My jeans still fit, but they are shorter.

  • My hair is long enough to tie under my chin.

  • I have a new favorite color—orange (sorry, blue).

  • Amber and I got our ears pierced. (Afterward, we hyperventilated for a while.)

  • My parents gave me my own phone. Amber has the same one.

    But all those changes seem little compared to the big change that happened over the summer. Dad moved out. When your parents decide to get a divorce, someone has to leave.

    Now big things—like meeting my new teacher, and finding my desk, and wondering if my friends are allowed to wear tinted lip gloss to school this year—seem little. And little things—like family photos disappearing from the refrigerator door, and not hearing Dad's truck pull into the driveway, and not smelling his spicy chili simmering on the stove—seem big.

    First, Dad lived at a hotel. Then he moved in with some friends. Now it's September and he's renting a cabin across the lake from our house. I mean, Mom's house. I mean, my house. I mean, I don't know what I mean.

    Mom and Dad told me they were getting a divorce on the first day of summer vacation, which used to be my favorite day of the year. I was eating a bowl of fruity cereal. I remember because as soon as they said that word—divorce—I dribbled pink milk down the front of my sparkly koala bear shirt. The one I got when Amber invited me to spend spring break at a resort with her family. We both got the same shirt and pretended we were sisters. Mom and Dad kept talking, but I stopped listening and ran to the bathroom and threw up even though I didn't have the flu or anything. Fruity cereal does not taste good on its way out of your stomach, but it's still just as bright.

    Mom and Dad told me that everything would be okay, and nothing was my fault, and they both loved me very much.

    But nothing was okay.

    I'm part of this family too. I should get a say in the big stuff.

    My mom is the head librarian at the Oak Hill Public Library, and she's always telling me to look things up for myself. I looked up the word divorce in the big, fat dictionary that sits on a fancy pedestal at the back of her library. It's not like I'd never heard that word before. I mean, I watch TV. But I didn't really know what it meant, or exactly how to spell it. After a few tries, I found it.

    Davorse

    Devorce

    Divorce

  • A complete separation between two things

  • To dissolve a marriage

    Then I looked up the word dissolve.

    Dissolve

  • To break up

  • To melt

  • To disappear

    If you ask me, dissolve is a dumb word for divorce because it doesn't make things melt and disappear like ice cream or cotton candy. Divorce makes everything hard and sour, like a jawbreaker you have to keep hidden in your cheek so it doesn't get stuck in your throat.

    After Dad started looking for a place to rent, and taught me how to use my new phone, Mom hauled a big suitcase down from the attic and told me I had to go stay with my grandparents in the city while she and Dad had lawyer meetings and divided up all their stuff.

    I love G-ma and G-pa, but going away when everything was falling apart felt like the biggest mistake in the world. But I still had to go.

    I missed Amber's birthday.

    And swimming lessons.

    And fireworks over Pickerel Lake.

    And Phoebe Bartlett's Fourth of July cookout.

    And the...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 16, 2017
    Just after her parents reveal that they are getting divorced, nine-year-old Wren Jo Byrd is sent to spend the summer with her grandparents, avoiding messages from her best friend, Amber, and the painful changes back home. Returning for the new school year, Wren finds that Amber has an outspoken and confident new best friend, Marianna. With her friendship in shambles, Wren continues to keep her parents’ divorce to herself, but she soon discovers that secrets have a way of turning into lies. Bowe (the Friends for Keeps series) effectively conveys Wren’s fears and frustrations: “I’m don’t know why I’m the one who has to go away when none of this was my idea,” she confides to her cat, Shakespeare. Wren’s decision to hide her difficulties at home, even as it affects her life on many fronts, powerfully illustrates how deeply upsetting family changes can be. Bowe’s genuine portraits of the key relationships in Wren’s life—with her friends, parents, and even the often-difficult Marianna—make for a warm and rewarding story about dealing with change. Ages 7–9. Agent: Steven Chudney, Chudney Agency.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd)
Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd)
Julie Bowe
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