Law, I. (2008). Savvy. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Just reading the description, I figured Savvy was my kind of book. Twelve-year-old Mibs’s family gain a special power, a savvy, when they turn thirteen. Mibs speculates about what her power will be, but once she learns that her father has been in a horrible traffic accident, she hopes to gain a power that can help heal him. And on her birthday she, along with two of her brothers and two other friends, sneaks away from her own birthday party on a Bible delivery van to try and reach him.
While drawing on some classic children’s fantasy narratives, this book shows both the magic in the extraordinary as well as in the ordinary. It also deals with themes of not letting others’ views of you get you down and maintaining faith in yourself.
While on her adventure, Mibs is faced with a potential romance and decides she is not ready. This is a situation a parent may want to emphasize if he or she wants to show that a teenager doesn’t have to enter into a relationship before he or she is ready.
Activities to do with the book:
This could be a fun read aloud to share with students. More than anything, the thing to encourage students is to enjoy the text as they listen. Of course, a teacher could also encourage the children to make connections to other popular narratives that include people with super powers.
You could also pair the book with science lessons on electricity and weather.
Since there’s all not too much text on each page, this can be a good book to have students gain confidence with their reading by completing such a big heavy book.
“When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he’d caused it” (p. 1).
“We Beaumonts are just like other people…we get born, and sometime later we die. And in between, we’re happy and sad, we feel love and we feel fear, we eat and we sleep and we hurt like everyone else” (p. 97-98).
“I didn’t think I liked being a teenager all that much” (p. 110).
“My poppa needs me…he needs me to get down there to Salina. He’s like Sleeping Beauty and I have to wake him up” (p. 140).
“Fish and I weren’t in Kansaska-Nebransas anymore and we didn’t have any yellow bricks to guide us, just a big pink bus and the yellow stripe-stripe-stripes of the highway” (p. 187).
“Maybe it’s like that for everyone, I thought. Maybe we all have other people’s voices running higgledy-piggledy through our heads all the time. I thought how often my poppa and momma were there inside my head with me, telling me right from wrong. Or how the voices of Ashley Bing and Emma Flint sometimes got stuck under my skin, taunting me and making me feel low, even when they weren’t around. I began to realize how hard it was to separate out all the voices to hear the single, strong one that came just from me” (p. 238).
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