A special treat this week! For a year and a half we've reviewed books that we read together as a family. But the kids are all voracious readers on their own as well. So I thought I'd chat with them one-on-one to find out about the books they are reading for their own pleasure. These are books I personally know nothing about, so I'm learning too! Here's the schedule for the week:
Yesterday: Isaac with the "Percy Jackson" series
Today: Gracie with the "Just Grace" series
Tomorrow: Lily with the "Cobble Street Cousins" series
Now, take it away Gracie!
Dad: Hello Gracie.
Gracie (age 9): Hi.
Dad: Do you know why you are the only one here Bookie Woogie-ing?
Gracie: It's just me today.
Dad: Just you? Just Grace?!
Dad: And what book are we going to discus?
Gracie: "Just Grace."
Dad: I know it's just you. But what book are we going to look at?
Gracie: "Just Grace!" The book is called "Just Grace!"
Dad: Oh.... okay.
Gracie: HA ha ha! You know that.
Dad: Why do you love these books? Is it because your name is Grace?
Gracie: I like them because the books are funny.
Dad: So it's coincidence? If the series was called "Just Hildegard," you would have still read them?
Gracie: Hildegard is an awesome name.
Dad: What does the "Just" in "Just Grace" mean?
Gracie: She is in school with three other Graces. There is Gracie, Grace W, Grace L, and Just Grace. When she signs her papers she has to write "Just Grace" above them.
Dad: I see.
Gracie: This is how it started: At the beginning of the school year, the teachers said, "We can't have four Graces, we won't know who is who." So they said, "your new name is Grace W for--" ...I don't remember what her last name was. Grace Weebsnopper or whatever.
Gracie: "And Grace... uh... Lowwee - you will be Grace L." So Just Grace is thinking, if everyone else has a new name, maybe I can be Grace with no initial. So she says, "Teacher, since everyone else's name isn't Grace anymore, can I be just Grace?" So the teacher calls her Just Grace. But I'm thinking the teacher really knew what she meant.
Dad: So it was just a joke.
Gracie: But kids loved that -- "Just Grace! Just Grace!"
Dad: Ah, kids, kids, kids...
Gracie: You shouldn't blame kids about teasing. You are the biggest teaser ever!
Dad: Who me?
Gracie: Yes you! You tease about everything!
Dad: Dad's are good at teasing. So, what are the stories about? Is there anything special about the main character?
Gracie: She has empathy powers.
Dad: Woah! What does that mean? What is "empathy."
Gracie: I have no idea. All I know is that she calls them "empathy powers." And when somebody feels bad, she automatically has to do something to make them feel better.
Dad: Then, I think you do know what empathy is. "Empathy" means if someone feels a certain way, you feel it along with them.
Gracie: I have empathy powers too.
Dad: Does she use her powers for good or for evil?
Gracie: How can you use "feeling bad for someone" for evil?
Dad: Yeah, you're right.
Gracie: Anyone out there with empathy powers who wants to destroy the world... sorry. You are going to have to find something else to do.
Dad: So give me an example of one time when Just Grace had empathy powers.
Gracie: Once her best friend Mimi got this big triple ice cream cone, and Grace got a strawberry fudge one...
Dad: Is this in the first book or a different one?
Gracie: This isn't in any of the books.
Gracie: I'm making it up.
Gracie: Ha ha ha ha ha!
Dad: Okay. So you are writing further adventures?
Gracie: Oops... No...
Dad: You are just trying to create an example.
Gracie: Mm-hm. So, if somebody gets a big fudge ice cream cone, and they spill it, you feel so bad for them that you give them yours.
Dad: Is there anything else to say about the characters?
Gracie: Just Grace loves to draw. Whenever she feels sad or bad or mad or even happy, she goes up to her room, draws a comic, and then she feels, "Okiedoke, okay I'm fine..."
Dad: Is that where you get that? Sometimes when you are mad, you draw a picture about what happened.
Gracie: I draw a picture of what just happened and then it calms me down. But I started that before I read these books.
Dad: So you are just like "Just Grace." Same name. Same powers. Same drawing. Maybe that could be the next book in the series... "Just Like Grace."
Gracie: She's just a normal girl with empathy powers.
Dad: Do you have to read the books in order?
Gracie: I haven't been reading them in order at all. It doesn't matter.
Dad: Does the series feel complete?
Gracie: The author needs to write more. Please.
Dad: Do you who the author is?
Gracie: Fashion Kitty!!!
Dad: Yep - it's the same lady who wrote the Fashion Kitty books.
Gracie: I love them.
Dad: Her name is Charise Mericle Harper.
Gracie: She rocks.
Dad: Is there anything similar between the Fashion Kitty graphic novels and the Just Grace chapter books?
Gracie: The style of the pictures looks the same. They have really squishy oval eyes.
Dad: Well, thanks for telling us about these book! I have one more question for you. What are you currently reading?
Gracie: Inkspell. I'm on chapter 11.
Dad: We all read Inkheart together. Then you liked it so much that you decided to read the sequel on your own. You know, you're just like Isaac - you are leaving me behind! You are leaving me in the dust!
Gracie: Ha ha ha!
Author/Illustrator: Charise Mericle Harper
Book 1: "Just Grace" published, 2007: Houghton Mifflin
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