Savvy by Ingrid Law was a book my daughter wanted from the Scholastic catalogue because she thought it looked interesting. It took a couple of meetings for it to be voted in to read in the book club, and I’m not sure why. Was it because the fantastical adventures were happening to an adolescent girl instead of a boy? Did the cover look too immature? Did the name sound too girly? In any case, the club finally agreed to read it and I’m glad they did. The story is constructed as a “tall tale” meaning the hero (or heroine in this case) is faced with a problem to overcome which is done through a journey that includes larger-than-life characters and events. Think Paul Bunyan or John Henry. Of course, I didn’t realize this until reading one of the suggested activities from the official website. Thank goodness for the internet!
In any case, Savvy is the story of Mibs, a young girl about to have her 13th birthday. She comes from a family where everyone has a savvy, or special talent, that tends to arrive on this particular birthday. Mibs is faced with trying to discover her savvy and get to her father who is critically ill from a car accident by hiding out on a school-bus-turned-bible-delivery-truck; let the journey begin!
Savvy is a coming of age story with a really great message about tuning out all the voices in your head and listening to your own soul. There is a bit of romance that Mibs realizes she’s not ready for (a nice change for those of us not wanting our kids to grow up that fast) and a storyline about a kid being raised by his grandparents because his parents were just teenagers when he was born, but or the most part it’s about finding your own special strength, magical or not.
The activities we used at our meeting were pretty simple (Savvy Discussion Questions ) and included discussion questions from the official website at http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/printables/penguin/savvy_dg.pdf and a quiz I found at http://us.penguingroup.com/static/packages/us/yreaders/savvy/pdf/tl-guide-savvy-scumble.pdf. I added one question to the discussion list. Based on the first few pages of the book where Mibs’ brother alludes to the males in the family getting powerful savvies and the females getting “sugar and spice savvies”. I thought it was important to talk about the stereotypes people have of girls versus boys and it proved to be an interesting discussion. I like to dispel the idea of females being the ‘weaker sex’ with impressionable minds whenever possible!
Finally, I tweaked the “Ease on Down the Road” activity from the Penguin website and the kids really liked it. I taped a long piece of craft paper to my kitchen wall with a line horizontally down the middle and vertically about 2/3 down the page. On the top left I wrote “Past & Present” and the top right, “Future”. The kids then took markers and drew pictures of one or two high points in their life so far above the line (winning a part in a play, going on a great trip), and one or two low points below the line (breaking an arm, losing a pet). The best part was what they drew in the “Future” section – we had everything ranging from jazz singers to being dead! Because of course, we will all die in the future…how I love this eclectic, realistic group of kids!