This month's Reading Challenge is Back to School - books set in school, centering students, and/or about Education. Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango is perfect for this prompt.
WHAT ARE YOU READING THIS MONTH?
In Iveliz Explains It All, we meet Iveliz, who is a 7th grader hoping that this school year will be better than the last. Last year was hard. Car accident, loss her dad, survivor's guilt, therapist, meds, mom is distant. She's hoping for a fresh start with her abuela who is moving in with her and her mom because of her dementia, her best friend Amir who has always been there for her, and maybe even making a new friend.
But 7th grade ISN'T easier. Iveliz is still struggling. Her grades are slipping. There's these stupid bullies. Her best friend isn't speaking to her the same way. She's still depressed even though she's been diligently taking her meds. Her abuela's dementia is worse than she thought and abuela thinks she's "crazy" since she takes medication. Lastly, her mom, dealing with her own grief, doesn't understand what Iveliz is going through. The only place she can be herself is in her journal.
This novel in verse needs to be in EVERY school across the country! The pandemic hit children HARD. The effects on their mental health is far reaching and most schools aren't equipped to handle it. There aren't nearly enough counselors/ social workers for the number of students who need support. #Bibliotherapy (learn more from @literaphynyc) in schools might be one (albeit, small) way to address mental health concerns.
From Iveliz Explains It All, young people can learn how to fight against the stigmas their cultures might have against mental illness. Through this beautiful novel-in-verse, our young people can learn about healing through journaling, about the power of TALKING to the folks who care about them, about being a good friend, that therapy is nothing to be ashamed of, and so many other amazing lessons!
My heart broke for Iveliz, but I was also incredibly PROUD of her growth at the end of the novel. I can't wait for some of my scholars to read Iveliz Explains It All in their 4th unit. It's going to be wonderful!
Andrea Beatriz Arango was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She is the author of Iveliz Explains It All, and is a former public school teacher with almost a decade of teaching experience under her belt. Andrea now writes the types of children’s books she wishes students had more access to.
READ. THIS. BOOK! You can order your copy at Tuma's Books and support a small, black-owned bookstore dedicated to curating diverse and multicultural books!