Family is family, no matter what it looks like. Readers will cheer for this pitch-perfect story, just right for fans of such books as The Great Gilly Hopkins and Fish in a Tree .
For as long as Robinson Hart can remember, it's just been her and Grandpa.Read more...
Family is family, no matter what it looks like. Readers will cheer for this pitch-perfect story, just right for fans of such books as The Great Gilly Hopkins and Fish in a Tree.
For as long as Robinson Hart can remember, it's just been her and Grandpa. He taught her about cars, baseball, and everything else worth knowing. But Grandpa's memory has been getting bad--so bad that he sometimes can't even remember Robbie's name.
She's sure that she's making things worse by getting in trouble at school, but she can't resist using her fists when bullies like Alex Carter make fun of her for not having a mom.
Now she's stuck in group guidance--and to make things even worse, Alex Carter is there too. There's no way Robbie's going to open up about her life to some therapy group, especially not with Alex in the room. Besides, if she told anyone how forgetful Grandpa's been getting lately, they'd take her away from him. He's the only family she has--and it's up to her to keep them together, no matter what.
Praise for Just Like Jackie
"I was truly moved by this refreshing story about a scrappy young heroine and her struggle to protect her family."--Sara Pennypacker, New York Times bestselling author of Pax
"Just Like Jackie is a lovely story of acceptance--about what makes a family and how we make our own families, and about embracing our differences."--Ann M. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Rain Reign
"A fresh coming-of-age novel as feisty, funny, and forthright as its protagonist. Robinson overcomes obstacles with wit, grit, and a growing compassion for others, showing us that families are what we make them and happiness is found in the simple gifts we take for granted. A rich, rewarding read all around."--John David Anderson, author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day
"As close to perfect as a book for middle grade children can get "--Cammie McGovern, author of Just My Luck
★ "Stoddard debuts with a quiet but powerful narrative that gently unpacks Alzheimer's, centers mental health, and moves through the intimate and intense emotional landscape of family--what seems to break one and what can remake it. Validating, heart-rending, and a deft blend of suffering and inspiration."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A home-run story that will resonate with all who feel they might not fit into the perfect definition of a family."--School Library Journal
"Debut author Stoddard crafts a winning narrator in Robinson. A beautiful story about the true meaning of family, perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt."--Booklist
- ISBN-13: 9780062652911
- ISBN-10: 0062652915
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- Publish Date: January 2018
- Page Count: 256
- Reading Level: Ages 10-13
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.85 pounds
How to make a family
BookPage Children's Top Pick, January 2018
Punch! That’s what Robinson Hart does to Alex Carter, the biggest bully in fifth grade, when he calls her a “motherless Robin bird.” Robinson’s mother died soon after she was born, so Alex hit a nerve. In this moment, the feisty, memorable, baseball-loving heroine of Lindsey Stoddard’s Just Like Jackie momentarily forgets the words of her grandpa: “The man you’re named for was a great ballplayer. The first black player in the league. People taunted him all the time, but he didn’t pay no mind.”
School administrators in the small Vermont town try to help Robbie control her broiling anger, but a family tree project isn’t helping. She knows little about her family, except that she is one-quarter black and lives with her black grandpa, whom she adores.
Robbie is happiest when she’s helping Grandpa fix cars at his garage, along with the other mechanic, Harold, who is adopting a baby with his partner. But Robbie’s been increasingly on edge because she’s also trying to hide an important secret: Grandpa is becoming more and more forgetful. She knows she needs to find out about her family before Grandpa’s memories are gone forever.
Robbie soon learns that she’s not the only one aggravated by the family tree project. She’s forced to attend Group Guidance meetings at school, along with none other than the dreaded Alex Carter and several other students. A sensitive counselor named Ms. Gloria gently allows each group member to gradually open up and reveal their troubles in a Breakfast Club sort of way.
Just Like Jackie covers a cornucopia of social hot points: Alzheimer’s, a parent dying of cancer, divorce, mixed-race families, gay couples, anger management, bullying, adoption and more. The story never feels forced, however, nor the issues gratuitous. Stoddard’s natural storytelling talent allows Robbie’s character to emerge like an extraordinary butterfly breaking its way out of a cocoon.