Ava and Pip by Carol Weston
Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Grade Level: 5 – 7
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (March 4, 2014)
Source: Publisher for tour via NetGalley
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
About the Book:
An endearing tween story about friendship, family, identity, and inspiration
Outgoing Ava loves her older sister, Pip, but can’t understand why Pip is so reserved and never seems to make friends with others. When Ava uses her writing talents to help her sister overcome her shyness, both girls learn the impact their words and stories can have on the world around them.
“Helping others helps you too’ is Weston’s essential message, and her story ably illustrates the point.” – Kirkus
“Family dynamics, friendship tangles, and finding one’s voice are among the topics Weston deftly juggles in this diary-style series debut… palindromes, similes, and a running emphasis on creative writing will excite readers. ” – Publishers Weekly
About the Author:
Carol Weston writes for kids, teens, and grown-ups and has been the advice columnist at Girls’ Life since 1994. Newsweek calls her a “Teen Dear Abby.” At Yale, she studied comp lit, graduating summa cum laude, and she and her family now live in NYC. You can visit her website at carolweston.com and her advice channel at youtube.com/girltalkwithcarol. Carol’s next book for kids is about AVA AND PIP.
Carol’s first book, GIRLTALK: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You (HarperCollins), has been in print since 1985, and is widely translated. Now in a fourth edition, it’s as sensible, encouraging, and “outstanding” (SLJ) as ever. Carol’s first novel was The Diary of Melanie Martin (Knopf). It’s about a traveling girl and her brother Matt the Brat. (Psst, their art teacher mom doesn’t know that their favorite museum game is Point Out the Naked People…) In the series, the family visits Italy, Spain, Holland, and NYC.
My Thoughts on Ava and Pip:
This is a story about one girl who is shy, and one who is not. They are sisters, and they are complete opposites. They get on each others nerves, but they look out for each other, too.
This book is delightful. I loved having Ava as a narrator. She is quirky (her whole family is quirky) and funny. Some of her one line zingers made me laugh out loud. I like that she isn’t perfect, and how she learns from her mistakes. I like her spunk and her bravery. I love that she never gives up on her sister, even when her own feelings get smushed.
With a great voice that’s packed with humor, Ava and Pip is educational and lighthearted. Highly recommended for shy kids, their siblings, and anyone that knows a shy kid.
Interview with Carol Weston:
Q. If you could visit any time or place, when and where would you go?
A. When I was Ava’s age, I hadn’t left the United States. But after tenth grade, I spent the summer with a French family on the Experiment in International Living. I learned French and shepherded sheep and tasted truffles and thought: I have to keep traveling! I spent all of twelfth grade in Rennes, France on a program called School Year Abroad. In college, I learned Spanish and did a semester and graduate school in Madrid, Spain. I love languages and my first series for Knopf was all about a traveling ten-year-old girl who goes to Italy, Holland, Spain and New York. (The Diary of Melanie Martin). Even now, travel is my biggest extravagance. Not shoes. Not restaurants. Plane tickets.
If want to visit a place, I try to make it happen. Sicily is on the short list right now. I went to Peru last summer.As for visiting a time, I like the present. But I miss my dad, so it would be pretty great to be a kid myself for a spell. To be ten would be just fine. Fifth grade worked for me. Maybe that’s why Ava Wren is also ten.
Q. If you could only read 3 books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
A. 1. Aesop’s Fables. Like Ava, I’m an Aesop fan. Each fable is so short, yet so full of things to think about.
2. Anna Karenina. Leo Tolstoy really is a gorgeous writer, and he tackles giant subjects. I’ve read the novel twice and I know it has a lot more to teach me.
3. The Bible. If I get only three books, the third might as well be jam-packed with stories. Besides, I love art museums and I think if I knew the Bible better, I’d get more out of some Renaissance paintings. Maybe it could be in French or Spanish, so I could read it more slowly.Q. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
A. I was always a writer. When I learned how to write letters in cursive, I wrote about it in my diary. It’s true! When I was eight, writing was what I was writing about! Here, I just took this photo for you.I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was in my early twenties and sold a few articles and essays to Seventeen and The New York Times. I thought: Okay, now I want to write a book. But about what?? Answer: About growing up. So far, Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You is my most popular book. It came out in 12 languages. Heck, here’s another photo for you.
Right now I’m so excited about Ava Wren, a girl with a diary who dares to dream of becoming a writer. I also like the way the book ends — though I won’t add any spoilers here. The second book works on two levels too. (Ava and Taco Cat is with my editor Steve Geck now.)
Want to know one of the great moments for a writer? When a single book or a big box of galleys (now called ARCs) comes your way. Your words, which you worked so hard on all by yourself in your room, are suddenly going to go public. It’s fun every time!
Q. What do you like to do in your free time?
A. I like to walk with friends and go to art museums and watch movies and go to plays and skim the paper and ski in the winter and hang out with my cat. I also enjoy reading novels and have been a member of the same book club for 22 years. I love being with my family and I love parties.
Q. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
A. Mocha chip. But any ice cream with chips will do. I also like Rum Raisin. I like my ice cream to have things in it: chocolate, nuts, cherries, raisins.
Mar 4 6 p.m. Corner Bookstore NYC
Mar 9 2 p.m. BookCourt Brooklyn
Mar 11 5:30 p.m. New York Society Library
Mar 21 10:30 a.m. Politics and Prose DC
Mar 29 2 p.m. Watchung Montclair
April 5 2:30 p.m. BankStreet NYC
April 13 2 p.m. Thurber Center Col’s OH
April 14 6 p.m. Lennox B&N Col’s OH
April 23 6:30 Wild Rumpus MN…