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Short

Cover of Short

Short

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In this heartwarming and funny middle-grade novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s, Julia grows into herself while playing a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she'll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn't ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive—one of the adults with dwarfism who've joined the production's motley crew of Munchkins—and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia's own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn't want to fade into the background—and it's a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!

Bubbling over with humor and tenderness, this is an irresistible story of self-discovery and of the role models who forever change us.
In this heartwarming and funny middle-grade novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s, Julia grows into herself while playing a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she'll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn't ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive—one of the adults with dwarfism who've joined the production's motley crew of Munchkins—and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia's own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn't want to fade into the background—and it's a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!

Bubbling over with humor and tenderness, this is an irresistible story of self-discovery and of the role models who forever change us.
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  • Available:
    1
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Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    810
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    one

    I spend a lot of time looking up.

    My parents aren't short. My mom's even on the tall side. But my grandma Mittens (we really call her that) is tiny. I'm not good at science, but sometimes the genes from another generation sneak in and scramble the action. This might be to help you bond with the old people in your family.

    One night when I was in the third grade I felt a sore throat coming on. I went down to ask for an aspirin or at least warm salt water to gargle. If there was a peanut butter cookie left on the dessert plate, I thought that might also help. My parents were hanging out in the living room, and I heard my father say, "Well, we're lucky Julia's a girl. What if she was a boy and that short?"

    I stopped moving. They were talking about me.

    I waited for my mom to say, "Come on, Glen, she's not that short!" But she didn't. She said, "Right? It's my mom's fault. Mittens did it to her." And then they both laughed.

    Something had been done to me.

    Like a crime.

    It was someone's fault.

    I know they love me like crazy, but I'm short and they aren't. Until that moment I didn't realize my size was a problem for them. Their words made a heavy feeling on my shoulders and I wasn't even wearing a bathrobe. It was like having sand in wet shoes or a knot of tangled hair that can't be combed through because there's gum in the middle. Plus part of their statement was sexist, which is also wrong.

    I went back up to my room and didn't even ask for pain help. I climbed under the covers next to my dog, Ramon. He was asleep with his head on my pillow. When we first got him he was not allowed on the bed. But rules with dogs don't count in the same way as with people. I whispered in Ramon's ear, "I'm never going to say the word 'short' out loud again."

    I didn't know how hard it would be. The word is everywhere.

    These are the facts: In school I'm always in the front row for group pictures. None of the kids—even my best friends—want me on their team when we split up for basketball. I have a good shot, but it's too easy to block.

    When we're on a family trip, I sit in the third seat, the one all the way in the rear. It's easier for me to curl up next to suitcases, plus I don't mind riding backward.

    I need a stepstool to reach the water glasses in our kitchen, and I'm still small enough to fit through the dog door at home if we accidentally get locked out, which happens more often than you'd think.

    Grandma Mittens calls me the family terrier. She says that terriers might be small dogs but they are also tough. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, because the only terrier I ever really knew was named Riptide, and he bit people.

    Until seven weeks ago we had Ramon.

    He wasn't a terrier.

    He had black and white spots and was a mixed breed. Another way of describing him is to say he was a mutt. Only I don't like that word. It can have "negative connotations," which means it can come with bad thoughts. People think he was part pit bull because his head was big and he had a similar shape. But I don't want to label him.

    We adopted Ramon from a rescue place that meets on Sundays in a parking lot next to the farmer's market. He was pretty much the best dog in the whole world. We had him for more than five years, and then only a month and a half ago he climbed up into my dad's chair in the living room (even though I don't know why it's called my dad's chair, because we all sit there, even the dog if no one is looking). Anyway, Ramon got up into the chair, which was the only place he wasn't supposed to sit. It was okay for him to be on the couch because we put a blanket there and it...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 24, 2016
    Julia Marks, 11, is short for her age, doesn’t dance, can’t carry a tune like her brother Randy, and definitely doesn’t want to spend her summer acting in community theater. All of that changes when she and Randy are cast as Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. The play forces Julia to challenge her perceptions of herself: being a dreamer isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and being short doesn’t mean one can’t do great things. It also allows her to engage with people she wouldn’t have otherwise met, like elderly neighbor Mrs. Chang (who turns out to be both a skilled seamstress and an agile Winged Monkey); Olive, one of three adult Munchkins; and Shawn Barr, the play’s charismatic director. Sloan (Counting by 7s) again captures the authentic voice of a child dealing with weighty topics, including loss and identity, in a charming and often funny way. Julia’s natural naïveté (such as not knowing that L. Frank Baum is not “El Frank Bomb”) and inability to self-censor make for a narrative filled with lighthearted and candid moments. Ages 8–12. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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