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Ways to Grow Love

by Renée Watson

Series: Ryan Hart (2)

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2385113,625 (3.68)None
In the summer before fifth grade, Ryan Hart continues to grow through changes and challenges, such as waiting for a new baby sister to be born, a summer camp trip, and more.

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I enjoyed this installment in the Ryan Hart series just as much as the first, if not a bit more! Ways to Grow Love continues the theme of adjusting to family changes, with Ryan anticipating the birth of her new baby sister. In addition to this, there are some church camp shenanigans, and- so important for young readers, a lesson about being kind while also setting boundaries around how other people treat you. This series is delightful, and perfect for elementary-aged readers. ( )
  KellyNorris | Jun 12, 2022 |
Even better than the first book -- Ryan continues to be an endearing kid having solid kid adventures while growing up in Portland. She's about to become a big sister, she's got friend dynamics to sort out, and her summer is different than she thought it would be. Love the mischief she gets into, her continued cooking triumphs, and her sweet family life. Christian church is a significant part of the family's life and Ryan goes to church camp with friends. ( )
  jennybeast | May 19, 2022 |
I have a problem connecting to Renee Watson's books. Maybe I am being nitpicky but there are always things that just don't feel right/belong. In this book, book 2 of Ryan Hart series, Ryan is on summer break and waiting for a baby sister to be born. She starts the summer by going to the library with her grandmother for summer reading books. She talks about what a great and prolific reader she is and then leaves the library with just 1 book even though her grandmother said she could get more. They never mention returning to the library in just 2 days for more--which is what they would have had to do if she read like my daughters did. The adults kept pointing out the negative parts of being a big sister instead of the good parts. Everyone treated the mom like she was a delicate, fragile flower instead of just a pregnant woman. Many women exercise/run right up until the end. A woman just ran a 5:25 mile in her 9th month. Personally, I thought it was harder after the baby came out. At least I had my arms free while carrying the baby when I was pregnant. In back-to-back sentences the author says "me, Ray and Amanda get home." "Ray and I put our bikes..." Why use me in the first one? Get the grammar right all the time or do the Junie B excuse for bad grammar. During a day of fun, Ryan and her friends took all the water balloons in a game. She called this a strategy. I think the person in charge should have covered this under rules and it wasn't a "good strategy" it was just rude. The camp songs mentioned were old and tired. I have heard newer better ones. The author could have taken the time to research some newer ones. The adult falling for the trick at camp wasn't feasible. The antagonist was too easily apologetic and forgiven. Problems aren't that easy to solve realistically. On the plus side, the author does have a writing style that is engaging and the pickle segment was adorable. ( )
  AmandaSanders | Sep 27, 2021 |
This is book #2 in the Ryan Hart series. Here Ryan will be entering 5th grade in the fall, so she's finally able to attend her church's summer camp with her older brother who will be in 7th grade. Besides looking forward to summer camp, Ryan and Ray are anxiously awaiting the birth of their new baby sister. In the meantime, there are all kinds of adjustments. Red, one of these adjustments. Ryan is looking forward to camp and sharing a cabin with Kiki and Amanda, but Amanda also invited Red, a rebel who brings fake snakes and rodents to scare campers. Furthermore, Ryan and Red have a rocky past. This book is full of excellent acknowledgments about feelings and fun references to Portland, OR., not to mention how much Ryan matures over the course of the novel. ( )
  AngelaFarley | Jul 2, 2021 |
"Ways to Grow Love," Renee Watson's second book in the Ryan Hart series, is a fun and lively story about a young girl coming of age and coming into her own. Picking up where "Ways to Make Sunshine" leaves off, Ryan is starting the summer before fifth grade, but while she's excited, she's also realizes that this summer will be different. Her mother is pregnant, which means that Ryan's typical summer activities, such as carefully choosing library books on the first day of summer and going to Oaks Park amusement park with her family, will have to change. Fortunately, Ryan's spirit and zeal help her overcome any challenges that stand in her way. In this book, she learns how to stand up for herself, help others, and live up to her name.

The book tackles some age-appropriate issues, such as how to respond to bullying and "mean girl" behavior and how to handle the disruptions that come when a child is expecting a new sibling. Watson does this without resorting to lecturing or being overly didactic. The advice that Ryan's grandmother gives about the importance of standing up for yourself and telling people what you need and want, is especially thoughtful and important. Too often, girls get advice to be polite or to handle issues on their own without involving adults. Instead, Ryan's grandmother gives some amazing counsel that all young people (and many adults) need to hear: "You don't need to shrink to make anyone else feel important Sometimes you're going to have to stand up for yourself - and others might think you're being a little prickly. But it's okay to let people know what you need and want. It's okay to tell Red to respect you. And if you need support, ask an adult at camp." She goes on to say that "Sometimes people are mean because they are jealous or intimidated or because they just haven't learned how to be nice. And you don't deserve that."

Finally, the book provides an excellent example of showing Black joy and life that does not involve racial trauma. While trauma is sadly a part of African American history and current events, it is also valuable for readers to recognize that it isn't the only part. Watson depicts different aspects of growing up that revolve around small but telling events, such as going to church camp with friends or trying to smooth over parental discord in ill-advised (but hilarious to read about) ways.

All in all, "Ways to Grow Love" is a wonderful children's/early middle grade book. I can't wait to see if Watson continues Ryan's story so that readers can grow up with her. ( )
  sweeks1980 | Feb 7, 2021 |
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In the summer before fifth grade, Ryan Hart continues to grow through changes and challenges, such as waiting for a new baby sister to be born, a summer camp trip, and more.

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