Children’s Book Review: ‘The List of Things That Will Not Change’

  • “The List of Things That Will Not Change”

  • RISE RICHARDSON

director, The Village School
Published: 9/17/2020 5:48:55 PM
Modified: 9/17/2020 5:48:46 PM

“The List of Things That Will Not Change,” by Rebecca Stead.

This book, geared for 8- to 12-year-olds, will be enjoyed by adults, too. Bea is a 10-year-old girl whose parents divorced and now her dad is getting married to his boyfriend. Her dad’s boyfriend has a girl Bea’s age, who lives on the other coast and Bea is excited about having a “sister” her own age. How the girl feels about being Bea’s sister is a surprise to Bea.

The story actually encompasses about four years, as Bea tells the story and realizes she has to explain present events by sharing events from the past. Although in some books, the back and forth between present and past can be confusing, it works well in this book. Many of the events are amusing, and all are fascinating. Each slowly unfurls a layer of Bea’s character.

Children will love this book because Bea is not perfect; she is not a hero, but someone with flaws whom a child can identify with. The whole story is told in first person, from Bea’s point of view. Bea can be selfish, mean and closed at times. She can also be kind and sweet. Much is revealed at the end that explains the mix of Bea’s deep emotions and motivation.

In this book, Bea refers to her psychotherapist and how her therapist helps her. This is one of the few children’s books (possibly only) that presents a child’s view of therapy. Our 3rd-4th teacher, Shannon, is glad it is a popular book, and lots of children will read it, because, as Shannon said, “it normalizes therapy and makes it un-scary for children.”

I recommend that parents read this book to get a peek into a child’s mind and for simple enjoyment, too. Rebecca Stead also wrote “When You Reach Me,” a Newberry Medal winner, reviewed in the past and also highly recommended.

By the way, the Village School in Royalston has fully opened, with large covered outdoor spaces and social distancing in the classrooms. It’s great to have the children back at school. To see our Reopening Plan, go to www.villageschoolma.org


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