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Call Me Sunflower Hardcover – May 16, 2017
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"Call Me Sunflower is one of those rare books that settles into your very core and stays with you long after you finish the last page. Sunny's story will captivate your heart, oftentimes break it, but ultimately heal it together with a warm hug filled with the promise of hope." ―Brooks Benjamin, author of My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights
"Sunny's story is heartfelt and hopeful, and it's a poignant reminder that families don't have to be perfect to be full of love. ―Gail Nall, author of Breaking the Ice and Out of Tune
"Readers will be both heartbroken and warmed by the way Sunny views the world and her attempts to change it. This is a story of love, family, resilience, and grief―themes that resonate with many. Sunny is a relatable heroine with a noble cause that readers won't soon forget." ―Erin Entrada Kelly, author of Hello, Universe
"A beautifully told and at times poignant story about how difficult it can be for children to navigate their changing world. Franklin’s Sunflower is a lovable, creative character, and her attempts to reunite her parents, make new friendships, and form a bond with her grandmother will have readers glued to the page and heartened by the story’s themes of love and resilience." ―Wendy McLeod MacKnight, author of It's a Mystery, Pig Face!
"A moving and realistic story . . . Sunflower shines with emotion, convincing dialogue, and relatable characters." ―Atlanta Journal-Constitutional
"Although even preteens may shake their heads at the way Sunny refuses to accept a new reality . . . they’ll appreciate how she gradually discovers that she needs to deal with things the way they are and that even if circumstances change, she can still count on the people around her to come through for her. " ―School Library Journal
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Call Me Sunflower is a beautiful emotional story. Sunny doesn't like living with her grandmother and going to a new school is daunting. She isn't sure how to make friends when she doesn't want to stay, she doesn't know how to have fun without her best friend and father and she misses her old life. My heart ached for her when I read her plans to get her old life back. Sunny has problems finding her place at school and has the tough decision to make if she wants to hang out with the popular crowd or the kids she really likes. Everything is different and she isn't coping too well. When Sunny finds out that things she should have known have been kept from her she's even more confused. She's on a journey to find herself again after everything she's been through and I admired her for trying to make the best of every situation and for fighting for what she believes in.
Miriam Spitzer Franklin has a wonderful warm writing style. She vividly describes everything Sunny is feeling, both the good and the bad. I could easily picture Sunny's plans, her grief and her hope. Change is always difficult, especially without understanding every aspect of it, which is something Miriam Spitzer Franklin writes about in a fantastic empathic way. I loved Call Me Sunflower, it's a stunning moving story about a special girl and it has plenty of different layers. I highly recommend this brilliant book to both children and adults.
Call me Sunflower is an achingly realistic tale about new beginnings, the struggle of making new friends, and how young children deal with the possibility of their parents splitting. Sunflower struggles with so much and she makes a lot of mistakes in her journey to understand everything. This is truly an inspiring tale.
Sunflower is eleven and already she has to move somewhere new without her father. New home, new school, new people. They have to leave her dad behind and she can’t fathom why. Hurt and angered over it, she makes a plan and lists all the possible ways she could make her parents fall in love with each other again. As immersed in the project as she is, she still has to go to school and juggle classes, new friends, and how to act around others. She was never before mean to someone, and suddenly she finds that she hasn’t stood up for the one girl who is nice to her, and she sticks with people who ignore her. She grows a lot and learns to accept herself and thus be herself around others no matter what.
One thing I love about this book, while more of a sub plot than anything, is the views on animal rights and vegan diets. We get to see opposing views for each though neither are really touched upon. It gives the book more diversity and makes it that much more real. The author presents protests and how the owner reacts, as well as news coverage and consequences. Written without the gritty, raw details, the author still manages to make it seem just as important. We don’t need to see images of animals being killed to understand that this is an issue that is obviously important.
Another inspiring portion of this book is friendship. Sunflower’s parents are best friends and through everything, they remain close. They raised two girls together, survived loss and pain together, and have maintained a healthy relationship even when so much distance is between them. Sunflower and her best friend are now separated, but they constantly keeping contact and even when Sunny ignores her for a while, they work through things and stick together. The bonds are a powerful force that keeps you reading.
What bothered me however, is that Sunny acts out in such harsh, selfish ways. She does it many times and never truly learns her lesson. She blames her mother for everything and feels as if that is a reason for everything Sunny is doing. It was hard to stay immersed in the story when the main character bothered me so much.
Overall, Call me Sunflower is a journey of heartache, anger, and learning from one’s mistakes.
There were several things that I enjoyed about this book. First of all, for a middle grade book, the storyline had a lot of deep, impactful subjects and they were all written very well. I felt so bad for Sunny, having to move from her dad, cat, and friends isn't an easy thing. Especially at that age.
Something that didn't sit well with me was some of Sunny's behavior. Maybe it's because I am a mom that it stood out to me so much. Another thing I didn't like has to do with the big family secret. I really don't understand how a family could keep something like that a secret. I wouldn't do that to my children.
I still enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others. As a matter of fact, I already have! My daughter just finished reading it and she definitely liked it!
*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.