Sharon Creech's Bloomability

Sharon Creech's Bloomability

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Sharon Creech's Bloomability The contemporary realistic fiction book I chose to read was Bloomability. This book was written by Sharon Creech and was published in 1998 by Harper Trophy of HarperCollins Publishers Inc. It was written on the reading level of ages 8 - 12, or grades 5 – 8. Bloomability has won the following awards: IRA/CBC Children's Choices 1999, Parenting Magazine Reading Magic Award 1998, and Chicago Public Library Best Books 1998.

Sharon Creech uses her life as a basis for many of her books, and Bloomability is no exception.

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Bloomability is set mostly at a boarding school in Switzerland, and Creech lived in Europe for almost twenty years. Her husband was a headmaster at a school in Switzerland, and she was an English teacher there (Courtot). These aspects of her life are very apparent in the book. She relates her experiences in Europe and all the places she visited within the book. Creech also makes many references to Kentucky in the book, as she has family from Kentucky and has visited the state many times (Creech).
Bloomability is a book about a young girl, Domenica Santalina Doone, (Dinnie for short) who has moved at least twelve times in her thirteen years of life. Her father moves his family from town to town looking for opportunities to make a better life for them. By the time Dinnie is thirteen, her brother is in jail and her sister is pregnant. Dinnie's mom sends her off with her aunt and uncle, hoping to save her from a similar fate. Dinnie's "second life" begins as she moves to Switzerland with her aunt and uncle to attend an international school, where her uncle is the headmaster and her aunt is a teacher. The book examines Dinnie's life as she is taken away from everything she knows and given a fresh start at in a new country. Dinnie misses her family, wonders why they do not contact her, and begins to love her new life with her new friends. Dinnie is conflicted because she is constantly questioning where she belongs in life. She realizes that she is able to succeed in new settings, proving her bloomability.
This honest, hopeful slice of adolescent life [Bloomability] successfully explores how Domenica Santolina Doone, known as Dinnie, comes to terms with her past and establishes a secure identity for the future. Creech's skill at character development and subtle, effective use of metaphor shine in this first-person narrative with crisp, appropriately titled chapters. (Solonika 132)
Bloomability is a book that an entire class would benefit from reading. Both boys and girls in various socio-economic classes could relate to someone in this book. I think Bloomability could be used for individual reading as well as being read aloud in class to foster discussion. It would be a great book to use in a social studies class due to all the geographical locations found in it. Being a social studies teacher, I would have my class due a variety of mapping activities as they read the book. This would help them understand where Dinnie has lived and what a gypsy's life she has led. Along with a mapping exercise every few chapters, I would also have them journaling about Dinnie's life – the characters involved in her life, the situations she finds herself in, or what Dinnie may be feeling inside. I would pick just one thing for them to write about each session, to help them explore different characteristics of the book.
I enjoyed reading Bloomability. I liked the main character, Dinnie, and could relate to her thoughts and feelings during different situations. I did not like certain aspects of this book, though. I think it left too much to the imagination, and did not explain much going on outside of Dinnie's small world. Her family's actions were almost never accounted for, and it left a lot unsaid. These are all things within a literature class that you could use for your benefit, having students try to fill in the blanks with their ideas. I think this book would be appropriate for young adolescents, although there are some hard hitting issues such as teenage pregnancy and jail mentioned within the book.

Works Cited
Courtot, Marilyn. "Sharon Creech." Children's Literature. .
Creech, Sharon. "Biography." Sharon Creech. .
Solonika, Peg. School Library Journal 44, no. 10 (October 1998): 132, 135.
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