Book review by Aarene Storms: Be Prepared

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

Vera desperately wants to fit in with her American classmates, but she doesn't: her family is too poor, too Russian, too different.

Then, her mom sends her to summer camp: Russian summer camp. At Camp Orra, Vera will get to sleep in a tent, swim in a lake, and make friends who also speak Russian at home. Right?

Fitting in -- even at a camp for Russian kids -- still doesn't come easily for Vera, and she makes a lot of mistakes. She also does some stuff right, including befriending a belochki ("squirrel", a younger camper).

Loosely based on recollections of the author's own experience at Russian summer camp, the pictures are lively and fun, and the story is easy to relate to -- even for kids who don't speak Russian.

Highly recommended for ages 8 and up. After reading Be Prepared, you'll be ready to read Lumberjanes, a graphic novel series about girls at a fun -- and mysterious -- summer camp.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true. --R. Silvern

Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS


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