Book talk: Suzy can't believe that her best friend has drowned. It just doesn't make any sense--she'd always been an excellent swimmer. How could something like this happen? Then she learns about jellyfish so small they're practically invisible and so venomous they could kill an adult. Sure they're usually found near Australia, but with climate change and sea temperatures rising, maybe their territory is expanding. Everyone keeps telling Suzy that she should move on, but she can't until she can prove the real reason her friend died isn't a simple case of drowning.
Rave: Benjamin has done such a beautiful job on this novel. The plot is emotional, the characters well drawn, and the prose is just gorgeous. The way she depicts the complicated, messy experience of grief and the images she draws form the scientific world are simply breath-taking.
Every book its reader: I'd give this to students 4th grade and up looking for an emotional story.
Extras: jellyfish, grief, tearjerkers, friendship
The publisher has put out a video and some quote images to promote the book:
“If people were silent, they could hear the noise of their own lives better. If people were silent, it would make what they did say, whenever they chose to say it, more important. If people were silent, they could read one another's signals, the way underwater creatures flash lights at one another, or turn their skin different colors.”
“It's peculiar how no-words can be better than words. Silence can say more than noise, in the same way that a person's absence can occupy even more space than their presence did.”
“There are so many things to be scared of in this world: blooms of jellies. A sixth extinction. A middle school dance. But maybe we can stop feeling so afraid. Maybe instead of feeling like a mote of dust, we can remember that all the creatures on this Earth are made from stardust.
And we are the only ones who get to know it.
That's the thing about jellyfish: They'll never understand that. All they can do is drift along, unaware.
Humans may be newcomers to this planet. We may be plenty fragile. But we're also the only ones who can decide to change.”
“The more fragile the animal, the more it needs to protect itself. So the more venom a creature has, the more we should be able to forgive that animal. They're the ones that need it most. And, really, what is more fragile than a jellyfish, which doesn't even have any bones?”
Source: school library
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin: buy it or check it out today!