BookPage Children's Top Pick, January 2017
A young man spends his summer being shut out of basketball games and learns a valuable lesson about persistence. Choctaw storytelling traditions keep a family in stitches, in between eye rolls. A girl’s anger when her father allows an injustice to stand shifts as she realizes he’s gently changing the world on her behalf. These stories and more fill Flying Lessons & Other Stories, and each unique journey reinforces the notion that diversity in publishing is not just welcome but vital.
The anthology, edited by We Need Diverse Books co-founder Ellen Oh, doesn’t limit itself to the here and now. Grace Lin’s fable “The Difficult Path” describes indentured servant Lingsi’s unexpected journey out of servitude in ancient China, a life made possible because she’s a rare commodity: a female who can read. Debut author Kelly J. Baptist sets much of “The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn” in a public library, where Isaiah escapes his difficult home life and disappears into the notebook his late father left behind. Stories by Kwame Alexander, Tim Federle, Jacqueline Woodson and the late Walter Dean Myers, to whom the book is dedicated, never let the reader stay in one place too long . . . and that’s the point.
By turns quick and funny, thoughtful and heartbreaking, Flying Lessons & Other Stories will expand your worldview in quick, addictive bites. Prepare for liftoff and enjoy.