Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
When the “grownup virus” hits, kids who live in the same apartment building must cope with strange new rules and extended time at home with parents and siblings.
And they survive brilliantly, each in their own way. Twin boys throw themselves into an independent research assignment on prehistoric people and embrace their own devolution. A budding track star is encouraged to run laps on his balcony by a neighbor who has a secret crush on him. A classroom troublemaker reaches out to a teacher when his own father begins to exhibit signs of mental illness. A young entrepreneur saves himself and his hairdresser mother from financial collapse by renting out the family dog. And a girl finds a way to communicate with her hearing-impaired neighbor so that they can spy on the rest of the building.
The stories follow the course of the pandemic, from the early measures through lockdown, as the kids in the building observe the stresses on the adults around them and use their own quirky kid ingenuity to come up with ways to make their lives better. Funny, poignant and wise, this book will long outlive even the pandemic.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
About the author
Caroline Adderson is the author of Very Serious Children (Scholastic 2007), a novel for middle readers about two brothers, the sons of clowns, who run away from the circus. I, Bruno (Orca 2007) and Bruno for Real are collections of stories for emergent readers featuring seven year-old Bruno and his true life adventures.
Caroline Adderson also writes for adults and has won two Ethel Wilson Fiction Prizes, three CBC Literary Awards, as well as the 2006 Marion Engel Award given annually to an outstanding female writer in mid-career. Her numerous nominations include the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Most recently, Caroline was the Vancouver Public Library's 2008 Writer-in-Residence.
Her eight year-old son Patrick and his many friends inspire her children's writing. Caroline and her family live in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Excerpt: Sunny Days Inside: and Other Stories (by (author) Caroline Adderson)
The cave twins were not allowed inside the store to help the cave mother gather food. They had to huddle in the corner of the parking lot far away from other kin groups and watch over the cave baby sleeping in the stroller. While they waited — a very long time — they discussed what cave kids must have kicked around instead of a soccer ball.
“Probably a woolly mammoth skull,” Alek said.
“That wouldn’t roll very far,” Ivan said.
But Alek was on the right track. When they looked up “what are soccer balls made of,” they learned that the inside of a soccer ball was actually called a bladder.
“We need a bladder,” Ivan said, and they both looked over at the grocery store.
They ended up kicking a stone around.
“This probably is Stone Age soccer,” Alek said. “Hunter-gatherers only used stone tools, right?” Both boys pictured the tools they’d seen online. Paleolithic spears and axes.
All at once they came to the same realization, which often happens with twins.
“What are we doing kicking this stone around? We should be hunting!”
While each vignette is an entertaining short story, it’s the connections among the kids that make this a brilliant read. STARRED REVIEW
Kids in the building get acquainted from their balconies … Such friendships will see us through this time as well.
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
[Anderson] has a knack for capturing the voice of each child—the way they think and speak and hope—creating believable characters with whom children can identify.
Canadian Children's Book News
[A] valuable portrait … of not only the pandemic experience but how adult upheaval of any kind can impact kids.
Readers ages 9-12 are likely to find themselves revisiting their own days of lockdown … in this understanding read.
Wall Street Journal
This series of eight related stories will not only affect but inspire you.
Winnipeg Free Press
Other titles by Caroline Adderson
Pierre & Paul: Dragon!
Izzy in the Doghouse
A Russian Sister
It Happened on Sweet Street
Pierre & Paul: Avalanche!
Best Canadian Stories 2019
The Mostly True Story of Pudding Tat, Adventuring Cat
Jasper John Dooley: Public Library Enemy #1
Narratives of Demolition and Revival