Blended

by Sharon M. Draper

Isabella, 11, alternates weeks living with each of her divorced parents. Although... read more

Isabella, 11, alternates weeks living with each of her divorced parents. Although they’ve assured her the ongoing tension in their relationship is about them, not her, Isabella is always aware that they don’t get along. It doesn’t make the weekly exchanges easy, nor does the fact that her working class, white mom and middle class, Black dad lead very different lives. Isabella loves them both, and she loves —and is loved by—their new partners, Anastasia and John Mark, while Anastasia’s son is like a big brother. Still, she feels like there is her mom’s place, and her dad’s place, but no place that’s really hers. Isabella’s preparations for an upcoming piano recital, and the announcements that both her mom and her dad are getting married, are exciting but also points of tension. A racist incident at school has Isabella thinking more about her racial identity, adding an additional challenge to her complicated life. A harrowing and credible trauma ties several of these plot strands together, as well as bringing the conflicting elements of Isabella’s blended family into a tighter, more supportive network in this appealing, moving work. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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