Ruth Siburt | Chan continues excellence in children's literature

Ruth Siburt | Chan continues excellence in children's literature

If young adult author Crystal Chan runs for president, I'll volunteer in her campaign and donate every spare penny I have. Why? Because I think she may be the bravest, smartest, kindest person on the planet.

Chan is in the vanguard of diversity in children's literature. She finds ways for folks of differing opinions to dialogue with each other in respectful ways.

Her 2018 release from Simon Pulse, "All That I Can Fix," is a reflection of Chan's visionary courage and humor.

Meet 15-year-old Ronney, who lives in a small Indiana town. Ronney is racing down the street dodging squirrels as they fall from the sky like acorns during a wind storm. In addition to falling squirrels, Ronney's neighbors are on high alert because an old man has died, and the unlicensed, emaciated zoo animals he'd hidden have escaped.

Ronney's response to lions and tigers and bears roaming his town is nonchalant ... if your dad tried to kill himself but messed up and just hurt himself really bad, well, some cat somewhere out there isn't all that awful. I mean, the cat could be anywhere. Your dad lives in your house.

Ronney's two brainiac best friends are a future architect gal, George, and crazy good photographer guy, Jello. Both count on Ronney for his common sense. Actually, everyone in Ronney's life, his dad, his mom, his little sister Mina, and even a mini stalker dude, count on Ronney to hold things together.

Obviously, a guy can only fix everything for everyone for so long without falling apart himself.

Chan is a master of voice. And Ronney's voice rings true throughout the novel. Ronney does quite a bit of swearing, which at first, worried me. But the worry didn't last long. Ronney set up lodging in my heart.

Read on!

Decatur native Ruth Siburt is a freelance writer, editor and poet.

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