(19/20) My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich – “20 YA Novels for Adolescents”

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich is a historical fiction young adult novel written by Ibi Zoboi. It was published on August 27, 2019 and it consists of 256 pages. The awards and nominees for the novel are:

  • National Book Award Finalist.

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich is about a 12 year old girl named Ebony-Grace Norfleet who aspires to become an astronaut. The novel details her life growing up, her life with her family growing up, and everything she goes through all while aspiring to become an astronaut.

I chose to read this novel because while I have been reading lots of novels with POC characters, as well as fictional and non-fictional novels surrounding POC lives, struggles, and experiences, I wanted to read a novel about a POC character who aspires to become something. In the case of this novels, Grace aspires to become an astronaut. It was very interesting and fun to read a novel about POC like myself aspire to become something and to read their life experiences growing up as they reach that goal.

I recommend this novel to fourth graders and up. There doesn’t seem be any bad words, profanity, or anything that kids around that age need to beware of. There are words like “butt” or “heck” or “hell” that come up every now and then throughout the novel, but overall, nothing that I think we need to avoid showing to our students. It is a very appropriate and friendly read about a 12 year old aspiring to become an astronaut and it is a beautiful read.

The novel also seems to have some illustrations in some pages, which I think would be very friendly to kids and will catch their attention.

For read alouds, I would especially read:

  • Pgs. 14 – 15, “Astronaut Fantasy”.

  • Pgs. 23 – 34, “Building a Bottle Rocket Ship”.

The novel was a very fun and enjoyable read. It was fun getting to see a POC character like myself aspire to become something, even if I don’t necessarily have the same interest as her, which is to become an astronaut. What matters is that she aspires to become something and I’m sure that it will help POC students learn that they, too, can have something they are passionate about and aspire to achieve it. As a POC, I would have loved if my teachers encouraged me and exposed me to novels like this at such a young age.

I would love to explore more novels of POC characters, fiction or non-fiction, aspiring to become something. It is very necessary to see that type of representation of POC characters in young adult novels and expose kids to it all. My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich is definitely a novel that I reccommend to students, espically POC students so that they can see such a positive representation of themselves in the world of storytelling.

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