Excerpt from Sleepovers by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Sleepovers

by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips

Sleepovers by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips X
Sleepovers by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
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    Jun 2020, 193 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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Print Excerpt

The Truth About Miss Katie

I didn't like it when I heard what Miss Katie said at her going away party. And I probably shouldn't have been listening but I wanted to tell her goodbye. At the party she said, "Excuse me I have a phone call," and then she didn't come back in for a long time so I went out to the bleachers where she always talks on the phone because she says that's where she has best reception and I wish I didn't hear her. What she said. She didn't know I was there. And that was rude I guess and not good manners but Miss Katie is my favorite person—or was—because she's smart and pretty and always has her nails done nice and she told me that one time that my bush baby I did was looking so cute in the bush.

I had never done art before, I mean I'd seen it on TV like on Disney Channel and the Miley Cyrus show when she had to do a thing called a self-portrait. But that's why I loved when Miss Katie came. I just wanted to try art. You hear about it in all the stories, people painting, looking at paintings. I know that paintings are in museums because the library book I checked out told me about it. I've never been to a museum before either.

I heard that in the 6th grade we can go see a museum on the big field trip that the 6th graders take. They take us up to UNC to see the basketball court where Michael Jordan played and then they take us to a museum. We got to raise money to get up there though because we have to get this real big bus to take us and you have to get there real early at six in the morning and you CAN NOT be late. Or you'll be holding up your friends!

So I wanted to do this art. And I had never heard of a bush baby before either until Miss Katie came and read us that story about Africa and she showed us how to draw animals from Africa in white crayon on white paper. And I know that sounds crazy because how are you gonna see anything with white crayon on white paper? But when you put the watercolor on it, it shows up really good. Well like I said, Miss Katie said I did so good on my bush baby, "Pretty eyes," she said. "Between you and me it's the best one in the class." And that made me feel good.

When I got my period I thought I was hurt and I didn't know what was happening to me and I was crying in the bathroom stall at school and Miss Katie came in there and told me I was okay. She said I should be proud, that it meant I was becoming a young lady. She said she had one too. And she gave me a pad to put in my panties. And when Grandma picked me up from school that day Miss Katie walked out with me to Grandma's car and held my hand and she said, "Your granddaughter got her period today at school and I hope I didn't overstep my boundaries or anything but she didn't know what was going on and she was scared…" And then Grandma interrupted her and said, "That girl needs to feel scared." I could tell Miss Katie didn't know what to say then.

My Grandma is the bossy type. More bossy than Miss Katie. She don't let us keep the lights on at night because of the electric bill and so when the sun goes down me and brother and sister sit in our room in the dark just talking to each other and sometimes my baby sister is afraid and I hold her and scratch her back real light like you're barely touching her to get her to go to sleep. You can't do it too hard or it won't work. And Grandma won't send me to school but with one pad. She says they're expensive. So I told Miss Katie and she brought some pads to school just for me. And now whenever I feel the blood coming out of me I can change pads as much as I want. I hate feeling like I'm sitting in my own blood.

But Miss Katie said that I was a smart girl, a curious person, and that meant I was exciting. Miss Katie says to be normal is one of the most boring things in life. She taught us paper ma-shay. She has a paper ma-shay of her boobs that she keeps in her desk, she showed it to me one time.

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Excerpted from Sleepovers by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips. Published by Hub City Press. Copyright © 2020 by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips.

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