Starfish by Lisa Fipps

starfish book coverEver since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. She tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space, her family's swimming pool. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who all love Ellie for who she is. With support coming from multiple sides, Ellie might finally be able to starfish in real life, by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

While Ellie is the main character of the book, the author includes other characters who are bullied for different reasons, like race, class, appearance, etc. Anyone who gets bullied, has self esteem issues, or who knows anyone with these issues would benefit from reading this book.This book is blunt, but beautifully written. Written in-verse this book is a quick but powLisa Fipps authorerful read. It is a classic example of why we let people bully us, why we accept less than what we should, even from those who are supposed to love us the most.

This book was originally going to be for a Young Adult audience, but the author realized that a middle grade book would catch young people as their identities were developing and they needed the message the most. Kids can be brutal and the sooner these positive messages of love and acceptance are understood the better. This is Lisa Fipps' only book to date. Check these and other middle grade books about acceptance, bullies, and the importance of self love.


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