On the Children's Shelf: "Short" by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I finally read Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan from cover to cover. It's been on my to-be-read list for far too long. I've read parts of it (and absolutely loved it) but didn't read it in it's entirety. Last week I picked it up, started at the beginning, and couldn't put it down.

In Short, we meet Julia Marks who is short for her age. Her mom signs up her and her little brother to audition for a part in a play at the local university over the summer. Julia is not happy about this and really isn't thrilled when she's cast as a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. What Julia goes into grudgingly turns out to be one of the best experiences of her life. She makes new friends, pushes herself outside of her comfort zone, and learns that it doesn't matter how big you are on the outside..."what matters is how big you are on the inside."
Holly Goldberg Sloan weaves such an incredible, intricate tale that deals with grief, identity, and friendship, while keeping humor throughout. The cast of characters is amazing from the big director who comes in for the show to the neighbor who was a prima ballerina now whipping up the most amazing costumes, to Olive, a woman with dwarfism who is cast as a munchkin and a flying monkey with Julia. 
My favorite part of this book (which I've written about before here) is when Julia explores the idea of a family photo album/scrapbook as being representative of one person's view of the family. Her dad is the scrapbook maker in her house and while the photos and memories involve her, they aren't necessarily the ones she would choose to put in the book. She keeps her own private scrapbook throughout the summer and fills the pages with momentoes of her memories. It's impossible to read this and not think about Julia's thoughts on scrapbooks and photo albums when you create your own. 
Short has definitely clinched a spot on my list of all time favorite books. It's really that good! I am so impressed with the way Holly Goldberg Sloan truly shared her character's feelings and took us on this incredibly personal journey. The book is funny and deep at the same time. It's an incredible balance. I found myself taking photos of pages I found powerful to share quotes with friends as I read. This book is memorable, incredible, and one that should be read by children and adults.
Submitted by Carmel, NY

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