Summary: Ways to Grow Love
Ways to Grow Love is the second book in the Ryan Hart series. I loved the first book in the series and this book picks up soon after! It’s summer and Ryan’s mom is now heavily pregnant. It seems to Ryan that her unborn baby sister only stops her mom from doing all the fun stuff they used to do together. No more market for Ryan because her mom has to be on bed rest. Her mom can’t even come to the library with her to pick up books for the summer reading challenge and her grandma just rushes her and won’t let her pick as many books as she wants.
In addition to Ryan’s changing relationship with her mom, she’s also dealing with some friend drama. Things get especially stressful when she and her friends head over to church camp and Amanda mentions that Red, who made fun of Ryan in book one will be there. Can Ryan juggle all the changes in her life?
I love Ryan. Her heart is so big and she’s such a well-written character that any elementary school kid would enjoy. The book opens with lots of summer fun and sibling antics between Ryan and her brother Ray. There’s also a fair amount of trepidation alternating with excitement at the prospect of a new sibling and Watson writes this mix of feelings very well. As usual, Ryan continues to experiment with food as much as her grandma will let her.
Another chunk of the book is devoted to Ryan’s time at church camp with her friends and Red. The girls get up to some mischief at camp and Ryan has to learn to balance standing up for herself and being kind to others. The final third of the book is my favorite as Ryan welcomes her new sister in the midst of drama, family love, and plenty of excitement. She also finds a way to give back to her community using her love of cooking.
Overall: Ways to Grow Love
Ways to Grow Love is a sweet follow up to the first installment of the Ryan Hart series. Readers will be entertained by Ryan’s antics even as they learn how to navigate the ups and downs of relationships with grace and kindness for others. This is a perfect elementary school/young middle grade book for kids who have mixed feelings about welcoming a new sibling and will appeal to those dealing with friendship issues or learning to share their besties with new friends. Overall, very well worth reading.
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I always say Ryan Hart reminds me a lot of Ramona! If you’re looking for more elementary school books with fierce heroines, here’s my list of books like Ramona.