Monday, May 7, 2007
Sold, by Patricia McCormick
Sold, by Patricia McCormick, is on the 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults list; it also was an American Book Award nominee last year. It explores the challenges and injustices that many young people--especially women--face in third world countries.
The format of this novel is very familiar: it consists of short, poetic vignettes, much like Virginia Euwer Wolff's Make Lemonade. The language flows and the action builds to a dramatic climax--though the ending is somewhat abrupt. In any case, I found the novel extremely powerful and eye-opening.
Teachers 8th grade and up might consider using this book to explore issues related to gender inequalities, economic development, and taking a stand in the face of injustice. The content is challenging because McCormick depicts in unflinching terms--in the final third of the novel--various sexual topics and issues. All of this is handled very maturely, in full support of the main storyline. A note home to parents explaining the relationship between the novel and prevailing curricular goals and objectives would probably do the trick, though teachers might want to provide other options for reading, too. The novel could definitely be used to organize powerful discussions and writing projects, as well as useful connections to health or sex education curriculum.
As a parent, I would have no trouble giving this book to my 6th grader, though this is a book I would prefer he read in 7th or 8th grade. Pre-adolescents with the ability to handle more adult subject matter would find the narrative engaging and educational, though parents should expect to read or least discuss the text with their child, if read independently.