Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

Thank you Random House for the copy!
My last school is probably the most diverse school in the city.  About 20 different languages were spoken in the home.  There were African refugees, the governor’s son and everything else in between.    It was an awesome place to teach because of the diversity.  My new school is great, but far less colorful.  However, there are considerably more students with same sex parents.  Over the past year there has been a lot of blogging on the lack of diversity in children’s literature.  The dialogue has been thoughtful and thought provoking.

Does the diversity have to be the main point of the story?  I can’t really answer that question, but I can say is that the story MUST be great.  I am not going to encourage a student to read a book just because of diversity, just like I’m not going to give a boy a sports book just because it is a sports book.  With that said, I just finished a book filled with a whole lot of diversity.  The thing is, that wasn’t the main focus of the book.  It was just a fantastically, funny, family story.

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy follows the Fletcher family through the school year.  The four adopted brothers are:

  1. Sam age 12 and in the sixth grade.  He loves sports and is willing to take risks. 
  2. Jax age 10 and your typical fourth grader, even down to the procrastination of schoolwork.
  3. Eli, also, 10 but younger goes to a private school for HGT kids.  Hates it because it isn’t a place that encourages freethinking or collaboration.
  4. Frog age six and besides himself with joy of life.  Loves kindergarten and, well, just about everything.

The pack is led by Dad and Papa.  Who not always successful get to school on time with out a cat barfing, dirty clothes and an annoyed neighbor.  In other words they are like any other family.  The difference is that there are two dads, adopted boys that are different races and religions; but still a family worth reading about.

I am trying to put down on paper the thoughts rushing through my head about this book.  I really enjoyed this book.  Not the best book to read at night the first two weeks of school because I was either too tired, or stayed up too late reading it which made me too tired the next day.  Ms. Levy effortlessly (ok it seems like it was, but we all know how authors fret) sucked me into a family I wish lived next door to me.  Rowdy, loud, reckless, loving, caring, funny are important characteristics to have in a family. 

I am starting a reading unit this week on characters and the Fletcher family is a great book to do character studies.  What makes these boys tick?  What makes them so loveable?  It is, also, a book that shows how our country is changing and diversity is a big part of why.  I look forward to doing this as a read aloud and sharing with some families at school.