Illustrator: Tracy Mitchell
There comes a point in every boy and every girl’s life when they are brought face to face with stark realities that defy the world they know. They find themselves confronting issues like poverty, the supernatural, and the absurdity that is “nutrition facts” and they realize that adults don’t have all the answers . . . and maybe that’s why they hate the questions. Perhaps the boy or girl is brought sharply to the realization that parents and teachers are just people too, fallible and sometimes scared. And somewhere along the way, the boy or girl is no longer a child but a young adult, never again the same.
What Do Fish Have to Do With Anything? is an intriguing collection of short stories by Avi (a really wonderful author) featuring young people around 10-13 years old, right at that transition point between childhood and adolescence. I think the stories capture this unique period of life remarkably–somehow wide-eyed and curious yet cynical as well. The tales are, mostly, a bit incredible–but in the sense of hyperbole rather than fantasy, with the exception of one ghost story. The writing style is perfect for short stories, simple and brisk, with just the right details thrown in, and surprising twists appearing in many of the stories. I would recommend What Do Fish Have to Do With Anything? to anyone 10 and up, particularly to those either living through this transition period themselves or living with someone who is.