Today the sun was out, and as I walked to school, I wondered if it was sunny in Kentucky, too. And then I thought to myself that it's the same sun here as it is there, and that made me feel like you're not so far away after all.
Meena lives in New York City's Chinatown and River lives in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky. On the surface, these two young people appear to have little in common, except for one thing: they were on the snail mail list for pen pals at school. So as Meena and River interact entirely through letters, they learn about each others' lives and cultures, celebrating their similarities and differences, as we watch them navigate the injustices of the world through the eyes of their wide-eyed, innocent pre-adolescence. This is one of those special books that hovers over the line between middle grade and young adult.
Told entirely in letters between two pen pals, Same Sun Here deals with heavy social justice themes with grace and sensitivity without being too heavy-handed. Candlewick graciously sent me a copy of both the book and audiobook, and while the book has some illustrations that you will miss by only listening to the audiobook, I
highly recommend the audiobook anyway. Both authors narrate it and Silas House's deep southern drawl is one of the most soothing voices I have ever listened to.
As most teachers and librarians know, reading helps build empathy, and Same Sun Here is a book that can definitely help expedite that process.
Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
Published: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick and Brilliance Audio
Audiobook Length: 5 hours, 47 minutes
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Disclosure: Book and audiobook provided by publisher
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