Booktalk for How I Saved My Father's Life (And Ruined Everything Else)
- Grades: 3–5
Asking miracles isn't always a good thing. Take Madeline, for instance. She saved her father's life when he was caught in an avalanche, by praying harder than she'd ever prayed in her whole life. Her father was alive and safe, but everything else in her life was ruined.
Her parents got a divorce. Her father wrote a book about the avalanche that went to the top of the bestseller list, and made tons of money. He moved into a loft in New York, got married again, and had a little girl. They were her father's real family now, and Madeline, Cody, and their mother were just three unhappy people who used to be part of a family.
Madeline's mother went from being a fun, happy mom who made faces on hamburgers with slices of olives and pickles with a ketchup smile, to an unhappy person who couldn't get organized enough to take Madeline to her very important ballet lessons in Boston on Saturdays, and didn't understand why lessons in Providence from a woman named Misty Glenn were totally not acceptable. She cried all the time, made foolish decisions, lost things, forgot her promises, and even stopped being pretty. And her job at Family magazine suddenly seemed silly, compared to what Madeline's dad was doing. He flew all over the world to cover important stories. All her mom did was write a column about cooking with kids—"Food is Fun."
But it was that job that created even more changes in their lives. Family decided to send all three of them to Italy for a month so their mom could research authentic Italian recipes, and write an article called "Traveling with Your Kids is Fun!" That's not how Madeline and Cody wanted to spend their summer, but their mother didn't give them a choice about it. And Madeline began to wonder how her mother was going to cope with traveling all over a foreign country, when she couldn't keep things organized at home. Maybe it was time for another miracle.
This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian, and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.