Josie was born with cerebral palsy, a condition which has affected one side of her body more than the other. She is a little shy and a little embarrassed to be in the special education class. She is very close to her mother and her grandmother, but hasn't any close friends at school.
Reaching for Sun is a verse novel told from Josie's point of view. Though Josie sometimes has difficulties expressing herself and speaking her thoughts, her voice on the page is full of strength. The book is split into four portions, marking each season and accentuating it with a famous quote. The floral motif is punctuated with illustrations of a flower slowly sprouting, budding, and opening on the bottom of the right-hand pages, creating a sort of flipbook, akin to that in What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones.
A beautiful book simply told, I recommend Reaching for Sun alongside Rules by Cynthia Lord, Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown, and So B. It by Sarah Weeks, all well-written stories in which young characters and/or their family members overcome physical limitations and discover their inner strengths.
Put it to you this way: I enjoyed this book so much that it is already on my Best Books of 2007 list. This book will be a valuable addition to your bookshelves and to your library, be it at home, school, or work.
In short: Highly recommended.
Vote for this and other book reviews I've written.
Read my 2007 interview with author Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.
Read my 2008 interview with author Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.
I posted my favorite poem from this novel, Poppies, one Poetry Friday.