The Bug Girl: A True Story
Author: Sophia Spencer with Margaret McNamara
Schwartz & Wade
Young Sophia loves bugs. All of them, even mosquitos. (!!) From her first close-up encounter with a butterfly as a toddler, she is captivated, and like most people with a passion, she wants to share her love with the people around her.
During my time as a junior high teacher, one of the most important things I tried to teach the kids was that as soon as you start worrying about being cool, you aren’t. The coolest people aren’t concerned with what others think of them – they’re too busy being passionate and curious and interested in the world around them. By that measure, budding entomologist and author Sophia Spencer is one of the coolest kids around.
Young Sophia loves bugs. All of them, even mosquitos. (!!) From her first close-up encounter with a butterfly as a toddler, she is captivated, and like most people with a passion, she wants to share her love with the people around her. Her mother (who could teach a course in “how to mom”) does a superb job of encouraging and supporting Sophia, and for a while, life buzzes along. Sophia’s interest in, and love of bugs grows, and her kindergarten peers are as fascinated as she is.
But somewhere along the way, depressingly, and seemingly inevitably, being different becomes being weird, and Sophia finds herself isolated and bullied for loving bugs. The pages where Sophia’s former friends turn on her brought me to tears.
“I had to go back to school, but I didn’t bring a bug with me ever again.
That didn’t stop kids from making fun of me.”
However, Sophia’s brilliant mother writes to a group of scientists, hoping to find someone who will write back to let Sophia know she isn’t alone. Not only does an entomologist write back, but scores of others do too, sending messages of support, photos and videos.
“I looked at those messages day after day.
‘All these people love bugs,’ I said to my mom.
‘They do,’ she said.
‘And they’re not weird.’
‘Nope,’ said Mom. ‘They’re curious, just like you.’
Beautifully illustrated by husband and wife team Kerascoët, Margaret McNamara shapes Sophia’s story into elegant prose. This is a marvelous book. I can’t recommend it enough, not just for young bug boys and girls, but for all kids, those with passions, and those who might be inclined to dismiss other’s interests, for those who feel alone and shunted to one side, and for those who are doing the shunting. And for the parents of all of the above, as a little reminder of what we’re supposed to be doing here. Well done, Sophia. I can’t wait to see what you do next.
The Bug Girl (Support an Independent Bookstore)
The Bug Girl (Amazon)*
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Random House for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
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