Title: My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
Author: Ibi Zoboi
First published August 27, 2019
256 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780399187353 (ISBN10: 0399187359)
Ibi Zoboi’s debut middle-grade novel My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich introduces us to the young and imaginative Ebony-Grace Norfleet. Ebony-Grace is a sci-fi enthusiast and the granddaughter of one of NASA’s pioneering black engineers.
In this coming-of-age story set in 1984, Ebony-Grace travels from Huntsville, Alabama, to the bustling streets of Harlem to stay with her father for the summer. While her mother deals with a family crisis, Ebony-Grace struggles to adjust to her new surroundings and make friends.
But with the help of her grandfather’s love for sci-fi and her own imagination, Ebony-Grace begins to see the world in a different light. As she explores Harlem’s vibrant hip-hop culture, she discovers that the city has much in common with her beloved sci-fi adventures.
My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich is a heartwarming and funny tale of a young girl finding her place in a world that is constantly changing.
About the Author
Ibi Zoboi, a talented author, gained recognition for her first novel American Street which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has also achieved the New York Times Bestselling author title for her other works such as Pride, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, and Punching the Air, co-authored with Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated Five.
Additionally, she is the editor of the anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she presently resides in New Jersey with her spouse and three children.
My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi is a heartwarming and relatable coming-of-age story that tackles themes of identity, family, and acceptance. First published on August 27, 2019, Zoboi’s novel has quickly become a must-read for young adult readers.
Set against the backdrop of the 1980s, in Harlem, New York, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich follows the journey of twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet, a girl who loves space and dreams of becoming a sci-fi hero. But when her father sends her to stay with her grandfather in Alabama, Ebony-Grace finds herself struggling to adjust to a new environment, one that doesn’t share her passion for sci-fi and her unique sources of inspiration.
Zoboi’s writing is masterful, with every word carefully chosen and every scene gorgeously crafted. She paints a vivid picture of Harlem and Alabama, transporting readers to the 1980s and immersing them in Ebony-Grace’s world.
The characters are well-drawn and memorable, from the feisty and determined Ebony-Grace to her strict yet caring grandfather. The themes of the novel are timely and important, particularly in today’s political climate.
Zoboi explores the complexities of race and identity, and how they intersect in a world that often seeks to erase or marginalize differences. Ebony-Grace’s struggles to fit in and maintain her sense of self will resonate with readers of all ages, as will her journey towards self-discovery and acceptance.
One potential weakness of My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich is its slow pacing, particularly in the middle of the novel. Some readers may find themselves losing interest during this section, which focuses more on Ebony-Grace’s day-to-day activities than on any major conflicts or plot twists.
However, Zoboi’s beautiful writing and relatable characters compensate for this, and the novel picks up pace towards the end, building up to a satisfying and emotional conclusion. Overall, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich is a beautifully written and engaging novel that will inspire and empower readers of all ages.
It is an excellent addition to the young adult genre, with its themes of identity, family, and acceptance making it a valuable resource for educators and librarians. I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a well-crafted and thought-provoking read.