Thanks to the @KidLitExchange for the review copy of this book. As always, all opinions are my own.
Call Me Sunflower By Miriam Spitzer Franklin
(Sky Pony ~ May 2, 2017)
Call Me Sunflower is the story of a young girl named Sunflower who prefers to be called Sunny. She has recently moved to her Grandmother’s house with her mom and her sister Autumn so that her mom can go back to school. Sunny is not happy about the move, or that she had to leave her dad and cat behind. She isn’t happy about living with her Grandmother who likes everything to be very neat, and who owns a shop that sells furs.
Sunny struggles to make friends when she first starts middle school. She deals with common friendship issues, such as trying to find a seat at lunch, wanting to be accepted by others, and how to deal with people who make fun of people that are your friend. When she becomes involved in Odyssey of the Mind at school, she begins to feel a bit better and starts making some friends. Sunny also struggles with being separated from her dad, and tries coming up with plans to bring her parents back together. As the plans progress, so does Sunny’s need to lie – to her mom and her friend. During this time, a family secret is revealed which adds to the inner turmoil that Sunny is dealing with. If her mom has lied to her, then it must be okay for her to lie, too. When Sunny decides to participate in a protest against animal cruelty in front of her grandmother’s shop, and is interviewed by the local news, things reach a breaking point. Sunny begins to learn the consequences of her actions and must now figure out how to mend the relationship with her grandmother and her friend.
I found Sunny’s character easy to relate to. Moving is hard for anyone, especially for children, and children who have to leave family members behind. The problems of making friends, telling the truth, and dealing with family issues are common among middle school children and also things that they can connect with. Sunny learns some valuable lessons from her experiences, which would be helpful for children reading this story. A very enjoyable read!
You can also follow our tags on Instagram and Twitter to see all of our reviews!