On My Bookshelf: Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

July 13, 2020

The basic plot from Amazon: When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm--and what's worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.

Mysteriously, Ivy's drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks--and hopes--that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World exquisitely enriches the rare category of female middle-grade characters who like girls--and children's literature at large.

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake is a sweet middle grades read focuses on a preteen girl who is figuring out her sexual identity and struggling to find normalcy after her town is struck by disaster. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Why I liked it: Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake is a sweet middle grades read focuses on a preteen girl who is figuring out her sexual identity and struggling to find normalcy after her town is struck by disaster. The novel begins with a tornado which destroys Ivy's family's home and displaces them for the length of the novel. Even before the tornado hit, Ivy felt like she wasn't fitting in with her family and her relationship with her older sister was particularly strained. After the tornado strikes, her family relationships are even more strained with all six members of her family living out of a single hotel room.

To add to Ivy's troubles, her notebook filled with her most personal drawings gets lost during the transition from destroyed house to temporary shelter to hotel room. When the drawings start showing up in Ivy's locker along with notes, Ivy tries to puzzle out who might be leaving them for her. She hopes it might be June, a classmate who she develops a close friendship with in the aftermath of the tornado. As Ivy and June begin to spend more time together, Ivy begins to hope that June may share her romantic feelings as well, but does not seem to notice the rift growing between herself and her best friend Taryn. I liked that while in the end, things might not have worked out perfectly for Ivy, the book still had a happy ending with Ivy and June still trying to figure out who they are.

Classroom application: This novel is a perfect fit for middle school students. Many titles featuring characters who identify as LGBTQ+ have other content that is too mature for middle schoolers, particularly the sixth grade level which I currently teach. I appreciated that the novel had LGBTQ+ of varying ages that Ivy could connect with. Ivy, and students, can also see themselves in her older sister's best friend and the owner of the hotel Ivy's family is staying at.

The novel could also be used as a choice during literature circles focused on disasters, coming of age, or friendship.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


You Might Also Like

0 comments