Little Sister Is NOT My Name!
A book review for parents
This contemporary slice-of-life book by Sharon M. Draper is the first in the "Sassy" series and is published by Scholastic, Inc.
Little Sister is NOT My Name is written for kids ages 8 to 10. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Sassy Sanford, age 9, is tired of everyone calling her Little Sister. Not only does Sassy feel small, but she also feels drab in her school's blue and white uniform when she longs to sparkle. Her saving graces are her good friends Jasmine, Travis, Holly and Carmelita, and her Sassy Sack, a glittery bag made by her grandmother (Grammy). She keeps every imaginable item from shoelaces to superglue to a mini flashlight in it. Life gets exciting when Grammy, a renowned storyteller, makes a surprise visit to see Sassy's family and demonstrate her art at an assembly at Sassy's school. After the family enjoys a goodbye dinner with Grammy in a fancy restaurant at the top of Mom's office building, they become trapped in the elevator. The only one small enough to crawl out and get help is Sassy. The newspaper hails her a hero, and she comes to realize that sometimes being the smallest — the little sister — isn't so bad after all.
Sassy's parents are loving, attentive and present in her life and the lives of her siblings. Her father's name is Samson, and Sassy thinks it fits him because he has muscles like Samson in the Bible. Cool, creative Grammy is Sassy's hero; not only did she use many shimmery fabric scraps to make Sassy's much-envied Sassy Sack, but she's also traveled the world and shares her knowledge and stories with others. Grammy also has the unique ability to make everyone she talks to feel special. Sassy's teacher, Miss Armstrong, can laugh at herself (such as when she wears two unmatched shoes) and with others (such as when Travis gets his head stuck in the chair; she takes pictures of him to commemorate the moment). Students like her because of her warm sense of humor.
Other Belief Systems
Sassy tells her friends that her grandmother is magic and tells her grandmother she doesn't really like reading books about fantasy or magic. When Sassy's older siblings ask why Grammy never came and spoke at their schools, Grammy says Sassy was just lucky.
Sassy, her sister and her friends make a few innocent comments about kissing. Her sister, Sadora, who is old enough to drive, says she hasn't been kissed yet.
Children's Media and Toy Reviews Parents' Choice Award, 2009
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- How does Travis get his head stuck in the chair at school?
Why did he think it would be a good idea to put his head there?
What have you done that seemed like a good idea at the time but later proved to be a mistake?
What happened and how did you solve the problem or make things right?
- Why does Sassy prefer reading over playing video games or other activities?
What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?
How do people benefit from reading a lot?
How is listening to someone tell a story similar to reading, and how is it different?
- According to Grammy, where do style and flair come from?
What is your sense of who you are?
How confident are you around other kids?
What can you do to nurture the kind of self-assurance that comes from within and isn't based on what others think?
How can faith in God and trust in the Holy Spirit free you from self-consciousness and allow you to be more confident?
- If you had your own Sassy Sack, what would it look like?
What would it be made of?
What would you put inside, and why?
- How did Sassy save her family during the blackout?
Why couldn't anyone else call 9-1-1?
What makes someone a hero?
What do heroes look like?
What kind of training is required to be one?
Where does a hero's power or ability come from?
When a boy asks Sassy for some Kleenex (as he does frequently) and requests something other than pink, she lies and says that is the only color she has. She actually has several other colors, but she gives him pink because she knows it bothers him.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.