I don’t often write about Young Reader Books but during a Labor Day barbecue, a friend’s daughter mentioned she still had to complete her summer reading project. My little friend is one heck of a soccer goalie and like many kids, would rather play sports than read. I teased her because she only had a few days left - but I also began thinking about the Newbery Award winning book my little friend had just read.
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson is a book about sibling rivalry. The narrator of the story, Sara Louise, is jealous of her twin sister, Caroline. If Sara Louise is ever to grow up and become her own person, she must must break free and let go of her resentment towards Caroline.
I know a few siblings in a similar situation. The older sibling has always been the favored one while the younger sibling struggled to make her way in the world. Although the parents loved each child equally, the older one was more talented, more accomplished.
My little friend doesn’t understand sibling rivalry. She has a great sense of self and seems to get along with her siblings. I too never felt that way. I have always loved my siblings and have been proud of their accomplishments. I knew my parents loved us all equally. In fact my Mother always said we were all her favorites....
In the book Jacob Have I Loved, Sara Louise learns to find her way without burning bridges or becoming selfish. She breaks free of her sister's shadow and becomes a better person in the end.
My young friend is still in the process of growing up and perhaps, the final revelations may be lost on her. Jacob Have I Loved is the kind of children's book that isn't just for children. Young Reader books such as this one are sometimes best understood when shared with a caring adult!