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KidsPost Book Club ends with ‘Absolutely Normal Chaos’

Sharon Creech’s “Absolutely Normal Chaos.” (Deb Lindsey/For the Washington Post)

“Absolutely Normal Chaos”

by Sharon Creech. Age 9 and older.

Do you have schoolwork you’re expected to do over the summer? Maybe you have to read certain books, write an essay or do a math packet. Are you excited about it?

If your answer is “no,” then you have something in common with 13-year-old Mary Lou Finney, who is the main character in Sharon Creech’s “ Absolutely Normal Chaos .”

The book is written in the form of the journal that Mary Lou has to keep during the summer for her teacher, Mr. Birkway. The format may make this book different from any book you’ve ever read. It also will make you feel like you know Mary Lou very, very well. (After all, you’re reading her diary!) The story is clever and includes references to books you may one day find on a summer reading list.

Sharon Creech, author of “Absolutely Normal Chaos,” thinks kids should read over the summer, but only if they want to. ( Lyle Rigg)

Still, you might be surprised, as we were, to discover that Creech isn’t a huge fan of kids having to do schoolwork during the summer.

“I’m in the ‘let their brains roam freely’ camp,” the author says. “Still, if a variety of good books were readily available and kids could choose what most interested them, that would be grand.”

So here’s our suggestion, as our Summer Book Club draws to a close: If you have to write a report on a book you read this summer and still haven’t done it, you couldn’t make a better choice than “Absolutely Normal Chaos.”

Thanks for reading

This concludes our annual summer book club. We thank everyone who joined. We will publish the names of all our book club members in Kids­Post on September 2. In case you missed any of the books, there’s a list of the books in our club available on Keep reading!

— Tracy Grant

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