Written By: Jamie Sumner
Cover Art by: Celia Krampien
For Ages: 10 and up
Topics Covered: Homelessness, Growing Up, Sensory Processing Disorder, Moving, Family, Temporary Custody, Anxiety, Singing, Music, Performance, Poverty.
Lou Montgomery lives with her mother in their pickup truck in a lot of different places. Right now, however, they live in a Lake Tahoe campground where Lou’s mom was able to get a waitressing job. Each day is a challenge for Lou to stay under the radar (she doesn’t attend school), and also because unexpected loud sounds and touch cause her to have meltdowns. Lou’s mother in convinced that Lou will be a starlet if she would only get over the anxiety that accompanies every live show.
After a car accident, Lou is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Nashville, who have been given temporary custody. She starts attending a private school and a guidance counselor starts talking to Lou about SPD-Sensory Processing Disorder. Lu in convinced that she will be able to handle it and appear “normal” thereby getting her life back on track and reunited with her mother.
This book is not own voices, and I really enjoyed it. Childhood poverty and homelessness in books is pretty rare, and author Jamie Sumner portrays it in a sensitive and loving way. Lou and her mom are very close, and they do their best to scrape by. Families are very complicated, and living with her Aunt Ginger gives Lou the opportunity to learn more about her family history. After making her first real friend in several years, Lou begins to rethink her plan to escape Nashville as quickly as possible. Tune it Out covers a lot of challenging topics throughout the story, and does so with care. Being poor, homeless, navigating anxiety and an invisible condition like SPD is a lot for a 12 year old to manage especially without the support of school services. I definitely recommend this book, there is so much I don’t want to spoil, and so many topics that readers could discuss with each other after reading it.
This book was sent by Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are my own. Tune it Out is out now!
Jamie Sumner is the author of Roll with It and Tune It Out. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications. She loves stories that celebrate the grit and beauty in all kids. She is also the mother of a son with cerebral palsy and has written extensively about parenting a child with special needs. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Celia is a tiny Canadian illustrator. She has created work for newspapers, magazines and children’s books. Her first authored/illustrated picture book, SUNNY, will be published 2020.
Celia grew up in a house in the woods and spent her childhood reading, observing local wildlife and climbing trees (and sometimes falling out of them). Today, she lives in St. Catharines, ON and still spends her time reading and observing the local wildlife but she now prefers to enjoy trees with both feet on the ground.