The Liberation of Gabriel King

cover image for The Liberation of Gabriel KingGoing, K. L.  (2005)  The Liberation of Gabriel King.  New York: NY, Puffin Books.

Review:

Gabriel King and Frita Wilson are best friends, and best friends help each out.  It’s just Gabriel’s luck that Frita has decided that this means it’s her job to help Gabriel learn to stop being so scared of everything.  Throughout the summer of 1976 she’s going to make him face his fears, starting with spiders and going all the way down the rest of his list.  That way, by the end of the summer, Gabriel will be ready to face the fifth grade.

Part of what makes this such a great tween novel is that in the process of facing his fears Gabe learns to consider other people’s perspectives as well, most specifically Frita’s and her brother Terrance’s, and how that might affect how they, in turn, act.   For once, the non-white characters also being the non-pov characters didn’t annoy me because it’s very much a story of understanding privilege, about a child learning to face growing up – not just in terms of responsibility for himself, but also in terms of responsibility to and empathy for others.

 

Best for ages 8-12

 

Author website: http://www.klgoing.com/

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