Short - Holly Goldberg Sloan

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she'll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn't ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive - one of the adults with dwarfism who've joined the production's motley crew of Munchkins - and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia's own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn't want to fade into the background and it's a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!

This is a big-hearted story about a young girl who is coming into her own, discovering her potential, while learning about how little it matters to be tall or short. Julia and her friend Olive work together on the production of The Wizard of Oz, and Julia begins to understand that it's important not only to have dreams, but also to allow others to act as guides for potential futures.

Julia also learns that age and talent are not mutually exclusive, finding out that one of her neighbours is actually a very accomplished costumer and dancer. Together, all of the characters work to put on a terrific production and become friends, even what things (at times) don't always seem to go as planned!

In her signature emotionally complex and yet accessible narratives, Sloan makes Short a story that is anything but small. Young readers, particularly those who love drama and theatrics will appreciate the level of detail that Sloan includes about positions and technical specs (some might find it a bit overwhelming or even confusing, but it does all work in the end.) Short is a wonderful middle grade novel that has a lot of potential to reach a large audience of young readers!

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