I always think of Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary when I think of a dad-loses-his-job kind of book for primary age children. Ruby Lu, Star of the Show is a new entry in that particular category, for 21st century hard times, and it lives up to the high standard set by Ms. Cleary’s books of the 1970′s variety.
Ruby Lu is in third grade, and she’s a pistol. Whether she’s writing haiku (about her dog, Elvis) or worrying about Elvis being lonely at home or helping her dad in his job-hunting efforts, Ruby Lu is a star—a Chinese American, Spanish-learning, Haiku Heroine, dog training, hair cutting, hard working, list making, washing machine wearing, self-sacrificing center of attention and activity. Lenore Look has another (Alvin Ho is my hero!) winning character in Ruby Lu.
Here’s a Ruby Lu exclusive list on How to Survive Hard Times:
How to Survive Hard Times
1. Go to the library.
2. Check out books on dog training.
3. Do it yourself.
4. Start a business.
5. Sell something!
6. Make some money.
7. Scan some twenty-dollar bills.
8. Cut carefully.
9. Think positively.
10. Look alive.
11. Keep your head up.
12. Eat chocolate cake.
13. Listen to happy music.
I think #12 in particular is a great piece of advice for any times, although I take my chocolate straight, no chaser.
I tried to find some other parent unemployed books to recommend along with this one, but Ramona and Her Father plus books set during the Great Depression (Meet Kit An American Girl by Valerie Tripp, Blue Willow by Doris Gates, Nothing to Fear by Jackie French Koller) were all that I could come up with. Suggestions, anyone?