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THE SUMMER OF MAY by Cecilia Galante


by Cecilia Galante

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: April 26th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8023-0
Publisher: Aladdin

“What’s fat and short and green all over?” Spray-painting these words on the wall of her eighth-grade classroom, along with a crude drawing of an avocado and the question’s answer, “Movado the Avocado,” costs 13-year-old May heavily. She has to retake English during the summer with her teacher, Miss Movado, the subject of her graffiti art. It's either that or be expelled from school. She says she can see “the wide white sail of my eighth-grade summer slipping away” as she realizes she has no way out, and she’s angry. But May has been angry for a long time, ever since her argument with her mother, who subsequently walked out on her family, never to be seen again. May is adept at angry outbursts and pushing people away—her mother, grandmother, father and best friend—but she can’t push Miss Movado away, and it’s her work with Miss Movado—painting her classroom, keeping a journal, learning about poetry and going on excursions—that helps her to rein in her anger, learn to forgive and at least begin to stop blaming herself. Galante deftly weaves together the parallel stories of May and her teacher, while demonstrating how it’s their work together, like Holling Hoodhood’s sessions with Mrs. Baker in The Wednesday Wars (2007), that changes them both. (Fiction. 9-13)