Review of the Week

Breakfast_On_MarsStern, Rebecca and Brad Wolfe.  Breakfast on Mars: And 37 Other Delectable Essays.  Non-fic.  Roaring Brook, 2013. 224p. $16.99.  978-1-596437-37-1.
Breakfast on Mars is a rare breed: an anthology of essays written for a tween audience. Rebecca Stern, Bay Area native and teacher, recognized the difficulty of teaching children to write something they had no experience reading and so gathered nearly forty short essays, mostly written by authors whom children will recognize. In their range and variety they refute the idea that essays must be serious, structured, and dull and offer a multitude of examples and jumping off points to inspire both student writers and their teachers. Each essay is categorized: personal, persuasive, informative, literary, or graphic. An index allows readers to search for topics or authors that particularly appeal. While the examples provide inspiration in their dramatic openings, effective use of colloquial speech, and creative metaphors, they also inspire with the joy the authors evince in writing. “It’s On Like Donkey Kong” crackles with indignation. “River Girl” is passionate and elegiac. “The Incredibly Amazing Humpback Anglerfish” quivers with the intensity of the fact collector. While possible to read cover to cover the volume will be most valuable as an aid in middle-school essay assignments or as an inspiration for high school application personal essays. Review based on an ARC.
Melissa McAvoy, Independent 

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