Taking Up Space by Alyson Gerber

Published by Scholastic

Taking Up Space: Gerber, Alyson: 9781338186000: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Basketball is Sarah’s passion, and she’s concerned when she finds herself slowing down and missing shots.  When her coach tells her that it may have to do with the ways her body is changing as she goes through puberty, Sarah decides to severely restrict her eating to reverse those changes.  She’s supported in this decision at home, where her petite mother lives mostly on cookies and candy, has strict rules about food, and often forgets to grocery shop or make meals.  Food takes on new importance when the boy she has a crush on asks her to be his partner in the upcoming Chef Junior competition.  When Sarah collapses at a basketball game, her best friend confronts her and opens up a way for Sarah to finally get some help. Includes a note from the author telling of her own struggles with food and eating. 272 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Alyson Gerber addresses a real-world problem that many elementary and middle school kids are dealing with as she did in Braced and Focused.  Like Starfish, this book does a great job showing the crazy messages about eating that abound in our society and creates a memorable narrator whose strength and resilience help her to navigate them.

Cons:  The speed with which Sarah’s parents were ready to make major changes after just a single session with the school counselor seemed a little overly optimistic.

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