My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
National Book Award-finalist Ibi Zoboi makes her middle-grade debut with a moving story of a girl finding her place in a world that's changing at warp speed.Twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet has lived with her beloved grandfather Jeremiah in Huntsville, Alabama ever since she was little. As one of the first black engineers to integrate NASA, Jeremiah has nurtured Ebony-Grace’s love for all things outer space and science fiction—especially Star Wars and Star Trek. But in the summer of 1984, when trouble arises with Jeremiah, it’s decided she’ll spend a few weeks with her father in Harlem.Harlem is an exciting and terrifying place for a sheltered girl from Hunstville, and Ebony-Grace’s first instinct is to retreat into her imagination. But soon 126th Street begins to reveal that it has more in common with her beloved sci-fi adventures than she ever thought possible, and by summer's end, Ebony-Grace discovers that Harlem has a place for a girl whose eyes are always on the stars.

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich Details

TitleMy Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Juvenile, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, New York

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich Review

  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at page 14. Twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet is a confusing narrator and a pretty unlikeable character right out the gate. Her thoughts are so broken by her imagination that her narrative feels disjointed. There’s not much here in the way of setting, tone, or voice that suggests this book is intended for middle-graders. Really disappointed not to have loved this, because the premise (a nerd-centric seventh-grader from Alabama, whose love of space and science-fiction stems from her grandf DNF at page 14. Twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet is a confusing narrator and a pretty unlikeable character right out the gate. Her thoughts are so broken by her imagination that her narrative feels disjointed. There’s not much here in the way of setting, tone, or voice that suggests this book is intended for middle-graders. Really disappointed not to have loved this, because the premise (a nerd-centric seventh-grader from Alabama, whose love of space and science-fiction stems from her grandfather who was “one of the first black engineers to integrate NASA in the ‘60’s,” spends the summer with her daddy in Harlem, New York) held such promise. “That’s my daddy,” I say, and push her out of my way.But she grabs my arm. “Are you sure?” she whispers, looking at my daddy sideways as if he were a kidnapper.I pop my eyes out at her, something Momma would twist my ear for doing. It feels good to be a little insolent, as Momma calls it. She isn’t going to be around for a long while, and I can be as insolent as I want to be. I roll my eyes at the stewardess and pull away from her so I can run to my daddy.* -*Note: Quote taken from an Advanced Reading Copy.
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  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    Zoboi tackles Middle Grade!!!We have a cover.This book sounds freakin' incredible y'all. Please read the synopsis and add this to your TBRs.The world needs more stories like this.Let's SUPPORT.(Now I shall dismount my soapbox.)
  • Chyann
    January 1, 1970
    A lot of culture wrapped up in this one that I can get behind. There were also some sci-fi references that went over my head. The voice is super youthful, which for the most part is why I could not relate. That being said, this is definitely fitted for middle grades and I can see this connecting with young nerds of color!
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    I really hate giving one star reviews to books but this was a bit too strange and confusing to warrant much more. A young girl goes to live with her father in "New Joke City." The little girl spends her time pretending she is living in a fantasy world where everyone is from Star Trek. The plot is very strange and I wasn't quite sure how I was supposed to perceive the main character. Was she a special needs child? Was she just a zany girl? Regardless, the book is very hard to read and very nonsen I really hate giving one star reviews to books but this was a bit too strange and confusing to warrant much more. A young girl goes to live with her father in "New Joke City." The little girl spends her time pretending she is living in a fantasy world where everyone is from Star Trek. The plot is very strange and I wasn't quite sure how I was supposed to perceive the main character. Was she a special needs child? Was she just a zany girl? Regardless, the book is very hard to read and very nonsensical at times. I enjoyed the other character's reactions to the odd main character as well. The reason I chose to read this was the odd title, which ended up making sense in the plot but not so much in the sense of our own reality.
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  • Leigh
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the publisher courtesy of the SLJ'S Middle Grade Magic virtual conference in exchange for an honest review. I couldn't get behind this one. I'm not sure most middle grade readers will relate to Ebony Grace with ease. She's focused on imagining her life as a space mission in a way that removes her so far from reality, she can't relate to her peers. Additionally, it takes place in the 80's and leans heavily on some pop culture references (largely the original Star Trek serie I received an ARC from the publisher courtesy of the SLJ'S Middle Grade Magic virtual conference in exchange for an honest review. I couldn't get behind this one. I'm not sure most middle grade readers will relate to Ebony Grace with ease. She's focused on imagining her life as a space mission in a way that removes her so far from reality, she can't relate to her peers. Additionally, it takes place in the 80's and leans heavily on some pop culture references (largely the original Star Trek series and its movie franchise) that very few middle grade readers would be familiar with. I did get the references and still felt they got in the way. It moved relatively slowly, and the ending felt rather abrupt and unsatisfying. I wanted to like this one but just couldn't get there.
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  • Erika
    January 1, 1970
    For someone who's not into science fiction, I enjoyed this story. Ebony-Grace is definitely a little weird to me, but what really is normal? Fans of SUNNY by Jason Reynolds will enjoy this quirky, Star Trek loving pre-teen. While I'm not a huge fan of Star Trek or sci-fi, I appreciated that this novel was set in the years of my childhood so I could relate to the references and the protagonist often reminded me of one of my favorite films set in Brooklyn.
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  • Abby Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Ebony Grace would much rather be spending the summer at home with her granddaddy, one of the first black engineers to integrate NASA, but instead she's been sent to another planet - Harlem - to stay with her dad. Obsessed with all things space and especially Star Trek and Star Wars, E-Grace uses her imagination location to turn her summer trip into a mission for the starship Uhura, but the other kids in her neighborhood do NOT want to play along. Even Bianca, the girl who lives in her daddy's bu Ebony Grace would much rather be spending the summer at home with her granddaddy, one of the first black engineers to integrate NASA, but instead she's been sent to another planet - Harlem - to stay with her dad. Obsessed with all things space and especially Star Trek and Star Wars, E-Grace uses her imagination location to turn her summer trip into a mission for the starship Uhura, but the other kids in her neighborhood do NOT want to play along. Even Bianca, the girl who lives in her daddy's building and who has spent many hours playing space missions with her on previous visits, has changed. No longer interested in visiting the junkyard and building rockets, Bianca is jumping double dutch and breakdancing with other girls on their block and it's all definitely alien to E-Grace. This is quite a book... Ebony-Grace is unforgettable and the feeling of other-ness is pervasive. Like, there were times when I wanted to shake her, but I think that just illustrates how real she felt. This is a book for all the kids who are weird and don't fit in or don't want to do what everyone else is doing. It's for the kids who are strange and just fine that way. And it's a great portrait of a kid who's even outside of her family - she's kept in the dark about what's going on with her grandpa, sent away when all she wants to do is cling closer to the one person who understands her. This book reminded me so much of Sunny by Jason Reynolds - another book about an oddball who doesn't do things the way everyone else does but is fine with that. And readers who enjoy tales with strong historical settings and strong female characters like One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams will enjoy this one, too.
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  • Rita Shaffer
    January 1, 1970
    This one just really wasn’t for me ... I think the spaceship, Star Trek, great beyond references were just too much for me. I unfortunately found Ebony and the other girls to be extremely annoying and the plot a little slow.
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to like this one, but I didn't connect with the characters or style.
  • April
    January 1, 1970
    It is the summer of 1984 and Ebony-Grace Norfleet (aka "Space Cadet E-Grace Starfleet") is flying to Harlem, NY (aka "New Joke City" to Ebony) from her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. She'll be staying with her father (the evil "Sonic King"), falling deeply into her fantasy Sci Fi worlds (largely Star Trek inspired) to escape the stressful City Life world she's been thrust into after a sheltered country life down South with her mother and her granddaddy (the only one who has ever understood her It is the summer of 1984 and Ebony-Grace Norfleet (aka "Space Cadet E-Grace Starfleet") is flying to Harlem, NY (aka "New Joke City" to Ebony) from her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. She'll be staying with her father (the evil "Sonic King"), falling deeply into her fantasy Sci Fi worlds (largely Star Trek inspired) to escape the stressful City Life world she's been thrust into after a sheltered country life down South with her mother and her granddaddy (the only one who has ever understood her, aka "Captain Fleet"). Ebony-Grace's confusion and habit of retreating into her imagination any time things get frustratingly different (no one understands her, she's all country and this is the city, break-dancing is big and she's clueless, she's a big science aficionado in a group of kids who mostly just aren't) are incredibly relatable and will resonate with many readers. The comics interspersed throughout are delightful and really add to the story and enforce Ebony-Grace's feeling of alienation from her current living space and her family (who is keeping her in the dark). Anything you didn’t like about it? The references are old. While readers in their 30s/40s and beyond who are familiar with Star Trek will find much to make them smile; current Middle Schoolers may be a bit baffled in places. Then again, some shows and movies (ie: Star Wars; which is also referenced) transcend generations so if you have a reader into sci fi (there is a lot of space information; it isn't all references to old shows) this may be perfect.To whom would you recommend this book? (Read-alikes if you can think of them) For anyone who has ever resorted to their imagination to pretend they are someone cooler; or living someplace much more interesting; or just living a life that made more logical sense... Would be a really fun one to discuss in a book club.FTC Disclosure: The Publisher provided me with a copy of this book to provide an honest review. No goody bags, sponsorship, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Ebony-Grace has grown up in Alabama, hanging out with her grandfather who has encouraged her to imagine their adventures in outer space a la Star Trek. Ebony has an active imagination location that sometimes pushes others away, so when her mother sends her to Harlem to live with her father for the summer, Ebony doesn't really get along with the other kids in the neighborhood. Zoboi gives readers a pretty clear picture of Harlem in the 80's, and if you are into music and break dancing, you'll lov Ebony-Grace has grown up in Alabama, hanging out with her grandfather who has encouraged her to imagine their adventures in outer space a la Star Trek. Ebony has an active imagination location that sometimes pushes others away, so when her mother sends her to Harlem to live with her father for the summer, Ebony doesn't really get along with the other kids in the neighborhood. Zoboi gives readers a pretty clear picture of Harlem in the 80's, and if you are into music and break dancing, you'll love this book. But I thought the plotline about Ebony's grandfather felt unfinished. He's a major force in her life, but no one will give her information about him and at the conclusion of the story, she's finally going home, but she's still in the dark. Review from galley.
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  • Cortney (cortingbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Mini Me Rating and review: “The cover of this book is amazing and so I knew I wanted it as soon as I saw it and the author was kind enough to sign it for me at the NTTBF. I live in the south so it was interesting reading about a character that is from the south like me. The book was funny and creative and I enjoyed the Star Wars and space references. And I loved the comic style illustrations. That was my favorite part. I give this book all the stars!”
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  • Dwan Dawson-Tape
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this story and would have loved to have read it when I was young! I loved Zoboi's voice and characters and empathized with Ebony-Grace. She and I have similar adventures/misadventures centered around our imagination stations - I'd like to think we would have been friends, with all the interests we share! This is a wonderful edition to Own Voices, and a good opportunity for children to see themselves, and to see their classmates reflected in this imaginative summer tale.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    I love Ibi Zoboi. This book is so unique and I was sucked in by so many aspects of it...a girl obsessed with space, the 1980’s, family drama, mystery. I love the multi-genre approach, too. However, there were times it stalled out for me. The conflicts lacked intensity and it got a bit too caught up in Ebony’s space-world (although I understand why). Overall, points for creativity.
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  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    I struggled with the first third of this book - maybe I connected a little too much with the awkward in her own world Ebony-Grace. A very real book filled with a lot of fantasy, I recommend this for readers who love realistic fiction but want something a little different, too.
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