Review / Things Seen From Above

things-seen-from-aboveBook: Things Seen From Above (2020)
Author: Shelley Pearsall
Genre: MG, Contemporary

Basic plot: When April volunteers to be a Buddy Bench helper for the 4th Grade recess, she’s unsure what to think about Joey Byrd. All he seems to do is shuffle around the playground. But her perspective changes with the janitor takes her up on the roof to see that Joey is making “tracings” in the woodchips.


1) Joey Byrd is such a sympathetic character. I love his (very) short POV chapters that gives us a peek into how he’s viewing events. And, interestingly, while it’s definitely his point of view, it’s written in third person, kind of like he’s viewing himself as a character.

2) Sixth-grader April narrates the rest of the book. I loved seeing her grow over the novel. And it was also nice to get a glimpse of her life in high school… to see how the various characters end up.

3) And then there’s Mr. Ulysses, the janitor. I loved Mr. Ulysses! Especially his rooftop perch. I love his wisdom and that the kids seek him out to get his opinion. And his prediction about the game at the end of the book… (I won’t say any more.)

4) I like the addition of Veena, the girl from India. It’s so important for kids to see books where other kids reach out to new kids at school, even if they (like April) aren’t sure they should do it. I loved seeing that friendship grow, especially when April hands over the reigns, so to speak.

5) The author’s note at the end is great. It tells you what (and who) inspired the story. I always enjoy a good author’s note!


1) I wanted more with the older brother, Luke. We get a bit with him, but he almost seems like an after-thought.


I loved this book! Another recent book I’ve read that I enjoyed reading. I like Shelley Pearsall’s style. If you liked her other book, The Seventh Most Important Thing, I’d recommend you read this one as well!


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

14 thoughts on “Review / Things Seen From Above

  1. What a neat story! I like the theme of reaching out and understanding different kinds of people—we could definitely use that! Thanks for the excellent review!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I haven’t read this one yet. I actually have a copy of it, but I let a coworker read it before I did and am now realizing I never got it back (in their defense- they borrowed it in February and there’s been a few things going on since then and they probably forgot too). Thanks for the reminder. I will have to read it soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I once returned a book YEARS later. A long-distance friend loaned it to me when I was a kid. I kept it for years and finally returned it. Whew! That book just kept telling me it didn’t belong to me 🙂


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