Friday, December 28, 2012
Book Review - Saige
Saige’s new school year isn’t starting out well. She and her best friend, Tessa, seem to be growing apart. And because of funding cuts, Saige won’t have art—her favorite class—at school this year. Her grandma Mimi suggests that she do something about it, such as lead a “save the arts” parade and fund-raiser on Mimi’s horse Picasso. Soon Saige is training Picasso for the parade, which helps take her mind off her troubles at school. Then Mimi is injured in an accident, and Saige waits and worries, wondering what she can do. Can she ride Picasso in the parade and make her grandma proud? Can she still raise money to protect art at school? Saige is determined to try.
Jessie Haas, author of the 2013 Girl of the Year books, Saige and Saige Paints the Sky, grew up on a Vermont farm, riding, reading horse books, and struggling to train her own horse. Many years later, she is again training a horse, a young mare named Robin, who is the model for Georgia in the Saige books. “As a kid, training was frustrating for me and my horse,” Haas says. “Clicker training changed everything. Now I can explain things to Robin, and she can explain things to me. It makes us both feel smart.”
A passionate reader from early childhood, Haas learned in 5th grade that writing can be as much fun as reading. “Our substitute teacher had us write poems about something we were interested in,” Haas says. “I wrote horse poems, of course, and discovered that I loved writing. I've never stopped.”
Haas sold her first book, Keeping Barney, while a senior at Wellesley College, and has written 33 more books for children, including picture books, easy readers, novels, poetry and nonfiction, as well as two history books for adults. Her children's books have won several awards, including an ALA Notable, Bulletin Blue Ribbon, Kirkus Editors' Choice, Parents' Choice Gold Award, Golden Kite Honor Book Award and Gryphon Honor Book Award, as well as numerous state reading list nominations.
“But what means most to me,” she says, “are stories like this one, shared by a librarian. A fourth grader came to her, hugging Runaway Radish, and said, 'I never thought I could love to read. And then I found my Radish!' I love that story. Kids who love to read can learn anything and do anything, and they have so much enjoyment ahead of them. I'm thrilled to be part of making that happen.”
Haas leads a weekly writer's group which meets at a local elementary school. She says, “Every year I watch the school walls turn from bland to brilliant as the kids' art goes up. That was a major inspiration for the Saige books.”
The Saige books draw on Haas's long-distance love affair with New Mexico. “It all started in 5th grade, with a cowboy book, and has grown to include piñon smoke, New Mexican green chiles, and Southwestern art.”
Jessie Haas lives next door to the family farm in Vermont with her husband Michael J. Daley, also a children's writer, plus two cats, a dog, and a hen. Robin lives down on the farm. Haas and Daley mentor the Maple Leaf Writing Contest for local 5th and 6th graders. To find out more, visit www.jessiehaas.com.
My Take on the Book
As an adult reading this book , I found it interesting and one I would want my oldest granddaughter to read. It is a delightful book about Saige, a fourth grader, who loves art and horses. It is also a story about her friendship with her best friend who has other interests and a new friend who has the same interests as her. It is a story about her creativity and perseverance in developing a plan to raise money for the arts in spite of obstacles which include an accident that involves her grandmother. It should inspire girls to follow their dreams and pursue the interests they have. I was most impressed with the true story about a young girl, Lizzy, who was highlighted at the end of the book. Lizzy was born with one arm and in spite of her challenges she has become an excellent horse rider.
These are the stories our young girls need to read. They need to know that they have talents that they need to develop. As long as we as parents and grandparents support them, they can reach their dreams.
I encourage you to buy this book as a gift for your young girl in your life.
All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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