Story Wonders: Hello, Universe

Topics: Book review

“It’s not being brave if you aren’t scared.”

“Yes, but I don’t do anything. I don’t fight at all.”

“There are many ways to fight. Maybe you just haven’t been ready. But you’ll be ready next time.”

“I don’t want a next time.”

“My dear Bayani,” said Ruby. there is always a next time.”

I paused while reading this excerpt from Hello, Universe, this year’s Newbery Medal winner by Erin Entrada Kelly.

“There is always a next time.”

In the story a young boy struggles with his shyness and with a bully named Chet. Because of Chet, Virgil is sitting at the bottom of an empty well, waiting and hoping for rescue. He is having a conversation with Ruby San Salvador, one of the characters from his grandmother’s stories.

Meanwhile, the universe is working to pull together two friends to rescue Virgil.

I was reading the end of the book while sitting in my cramped spot on the plane from Colorado to Seattle while my college-bound son slept in the seat next to me.

And I looked up at the tray table when I read those lines. Ruby was right. It isn’t being brave if you aren’t scared. And there is always a next time.

Older kids need to leave for college, parents need help when they get older, younger kids need help with reading, speeches need to made in front of large audiences, and the stories I write need others to read them.

There is always something to be scared and then brave about.

I loved the book for lots of reasons. For the pet guinea pig named Gulliver, for the great big stray dog, and for the deaf girl who finds real friends who won’t leave her because she needs them to look at her when they talk.

But most of all, I loved it for those lines above.

If you have things you need to be brave about, I bet you’ll love it too.


About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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