The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden

The story is one of poverty, prejudice and the seemingly insurmountable odds that many families and children experience. Seventh grader Zoey has her hands full taking care of her three young siblings. She often thinks how much easier everything would be if she were an octopus: 8 arms to do 8 things at once. Not to mention how good at camouflaging and escaping they are. Zoey soon discovers that she may not be able to squeeze through a tiny hole like an octopus, but she can stand up for herself and her loved ones. 


I was surprised with how much a liked this book. I was intrigued by the title and the cover and I am so glad I picked it up, I read this just two sittings. As someone who grew up in a very rural area I related a lot to the main character. At her age I remember thinking a lot of the things she thought. In the acknowledgments the author states that a friend who is a teacher in a rural area wanted to see more books about rural poverty. That way the kids that she teaches could see a story similar to their own, i love that. I think my favorite part of this book is that Zoey finds it in herself to be better, to be stronger, and to protect the ones she loves.