|Jillian is experiencing growing pains in the form of life lessons. Her new baby sister was born deaf and she is dealing with some racial tensions in her family as well as in a newly forming friendship.
While this is a book written for kids, Gino is very open that it "is consciously written for white people as a catalyst to talk about modern racism and police violence in the United States," as they stated in the author's note at the end.
The part of the book that especially spoke to me was the tension-filled Thanksgiving dinner where Jilly is saddened to learn that some of her family members are racist. That was such a palpable moment in the story.
If I had one criticism of the book is that it's as subtle as a sledgehammer in addressing political issues, to the point where it feels a bit didactic in places. But the book has lovable characters and its greatest strength is that it models the necessity for white people to talk about race and in order to do that, we need to get uncomfortable and recognize that we're going to screw up. But doing and saying nothing speaks just as loudly as saying something offensive.
You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Middle Grade
Disclosure: Advance reader copy provided by publisher
If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.