Methods To Make Sunshine By Renee Watson

Methods To Make Sunshine By Renee Watson

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Ryan Hart, a next generation Ramona Quimby, turns challenges into sunshine in this warm-hearted series opener.

Ways To Make Sunshine By Renee Watson. Bloomsbury, 2020, 175 pages.

Reading level: intermediate, 8-10 years

Recommended for: ages 7-11 or 5-10 as a lecture

Ryan's name means "king" – this is her comeback when people observe that it is a boy's name. It's a leader's name, and Ryan's parents gave it to her because they want her to feel powerful when her name is given. Not bossy, but confident. But how do you feel powerful when your father loses his job? and the landlord decides to sell the house you live in? and the house you're moving into is smaller and doesn't feel like home? Circumstances hinder the feeling of being powerful, but it is precisely these circumstances that build emotional muscles.

Ryan Hart is marketed as a next-generation Ramona Quimby in a different color. In addition to being called to Portland, like Beverly Cleary's endearing creation, Ryan's adventures follow a similar episodic pattern: moving challenges, a mystery to former residents of the new house, a snappy white girl, a long-standing fear of public speaking. When Ryan, like Ramona, has more adventures ahead of her, she will face them with the same fear that is supported by loving parents and a loyal, if annoying, older brother. Young 3rd to 5th grade readers will be happy to spend time with her and may even get some tips on “making sunshine”.

Overall rating: 4.5 (of 5)

  • Weltanschauung / moral value: 4
  • Artistic / literary value: 4.5

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