Jordan Bradt: So I’m at the book sale browsing kid books, and I come across NISSA’S PLACE by A. LaFaye. It looked good, and I thought I might be able to pass it on to a teacher or a parent. After reading it, I realize I can’t. This would be better as a young adult book.
For one thing, Nissa gets her period and her dad explains it to her. Then he shows her pads, which she calls “diapers,” and explains to her about sperm. The passage in the book is much longer than that. It went into way too much detail for a kid’s book. Do kid books even need to mention menstruation? Oh yeah, and this is from Scholastic.
Nissa hangs out on her roof. Wow, what a great thing to tell kids! Her dad is fine with it, too.
Her mom is weird. The point of the story is how she deals with her mom, and eventually goes to live with her in Chicago. I guess it’s okay to show how the mom acts, because some parents do, so I’ll skip over that. Not only does it take forever to get to that part of the story (keep in mind the whole novel is only 244 pages), but then the actual stay is rushed. Nissa decides to go home to open a library.
A library. Really? That’s great and all, but it just seemed really random, and I would have liked to see a lot more in the story play up to that conclusion. The project becomes Nissa’s whole life. She also has to decide if she’s going to make her library segregated. That theme seemed thrown in at the end, and I would have liked to see it play out more.
When I finished the book, I cringed. Very rarely do books make me react physically. This one did. Not in a good way.