Last week, my kids and I took an 8 hour van ride and while my "littles" watched Disney movies, my eldest and I listened to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. My daughter read this in the spring and begged me to read it too. I never got around to it until we picked up the CD set at the library before our trip. What an incredible, suspenseful, mysterious, sci-fi…yet big life emotional questions kind of story! I loved it. And, I really do think that this book is better listened to than read. My 11 year old daughter agrees with that. She appreciated the complexities of the story much more after listening to it on our trip. We had so much to talk about. How much we loved how main character handles challenges, how mysterious Sal's part was in the story and how each of us arrived at our conclusion about who the time traveler was in the story. We also both want to know more about time travel theory…it's all so fascinating.
I also enjoyed When You Reach Me because the story was set in 1978……just about the time I was in sixth grade as the main character was. If you are a fan of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, seventies kitsch such as the game show Twenty Thousand Dollar Pyramid and smart writing, this is a must read. I recommend it for advanced readers in grades 4-8 for a satisfyingly challenging book.
When You Reach Me is the very worthy recipient of the 2010 Newberry Award for Children's Literature.
Stead, R. When You Reach Me (2009). New York. Listening Library