Skip to main content
Cover for Sunnyside Plaza

Sunnyside Plaza

Scott Simon

Hardcover

List Price: 16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (1/20/2020)
Paperback (1/19/2021)
Compact Disc (1/21/2020)

Winter 2019 Kids Indie Next List

“When the residents of Sunnyside Plaza—a group home for adults with developmental disabilities—start unexpectedly dying, a young woman must work with the other Sunnysiders to figure out what’s happening. Scott Simon’s characters are instantly emotionally engaging and their resiliency and determination to help and protect each other will have readers of all ages deeply invested in their story.”
— Colin Sneed, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
View the List

Description

A Bank Street Best Book of 2021

Wonder meets Three Times Lucky in a story of empowerment as a young woman decides to help solve the mystery of multiple suspicious deaths in her group home.

Sally Miyake can't read, but she learns lots of things. Like bricks are made of clay and Vitamin D comes from the sun. Sally is happy working in the kitchen at Sunnyside Plaza, the community center she lives in with other adults with developmental disabilities. For Sally and her friends, Sunnyside is the only home they've ever known.

Everything changes the day a resident unexpectedly dies. After a series of tragic events, detectives Esther Rivas and Lon Bridges begin asking questions. Are the incidents accidents? Or is something more disturbing happening?

The suspicious deaths spur the residents into taking the investigation into their own hands. But are people willing to listen?

Sunnyside Plaza is a human story of empowerment, empathy, hope, and generosity that shines a light on this very special world.


Praise For Sunnyside Plaza

Praise for Sunnyside Plaza:
*"A tender insight into being different and wonderful."—Kirkus, starred review

*"A resoundingly poignant novel with an acutely intuitive and empathic protagonist."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"...filled with compassion, determination, intrigue, and the restored faith in the power of community."—School Library Connection

"Sunnyside Plaza is a light in the shadows that illuminates the humanity in us all. It's a book as special as its characters. A treasure."


p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}Jerry Spinelli, Newbery winning author of Maniac Magee and The Warden's Daughter

"A beautiful book that focuses on empathy, not pity, to introduce readers to a new world. I enjoyed every minute I spent with the characters of Sunnyside Plaza."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}Stacy McAnulty, bestselling author of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

"Sunnyside Plaza is a gem of a read! I highly recommend this mystery to anyone who loves to learn about people. Scott Simon got it all right when creating characters with intellectual disabilities and showing the strength that human connections make in one's life."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Kathy Detwiler, Buttonwood Books & Toys (Cohasset, MA)

"When the residents of Sunnyside Plaza - a group home for adults with developmental disabilities - start unexpectedly passing away, a young woman must work with the other Sunnysiders to figure out what's happening. Scott Simon's characters are instantly emotionally engaging and their resiliency and determination to help and protect each other will have readers of all ages deeply invested in their story."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Colin Sneed, Flyleaf Books (Chapel Hill, NC)

"Sunnyside Plaza is a gem of a read! I highly recommend this mystery to anyone who loves to learn about people. Scott Simon got it all right when creating characters with intellectual disabilities and showing the strength that human connections make in one's life."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Kathy Detwiler, Buttonwood Books & Toys (Cohasset, MA)

"Scott Simon's characters are instantly emotionally engaging and their resiliency and determination to help and protect each other will have readers of all ages deeply invested in their story."

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Colin Sneed, Flyleaf Books (Chapel Hill, NC)

"Sunnyside Plaza is an amazing book. The book is a mystery and it is sure to intrigue anyone who reads it. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars. If you liked Braced, I am certain you will like this book too. It's a great book for kids 9 and older."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Island Bookstore (Kitty Hawk, NC)

"Like all animals, humans are hardwired to detect differences. Avoiding, fearing, or making fun of differences, though, is a learned behavior. We're no two alike, so which differences affect our reactions to others? The residents of Sunnyside Plaza are ""different"", but so are the staff, the delivery man, the people on the street. Author and NPR commentator Scott Simon's novel is aimed at middle-grade readers but is important reading for older teens and adults, too, and will be a great book for group discussions. And you'll cheer for Sally and her friends as they help the police solve a mystery!"—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe (Boone, IA)

"An excellent book about the power of the human spirit, even when some of the people are so different from what would be called "normal." A must read for all middle readers as they think about people who may be different from themselves."—p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Georgia}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Pat Trotter, Bookends On Main (Menomonie, WI)

"Simon delivers a unique story."—BCCB

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316531207, 208pp.

Publication Date: January 21, 2020



About the Author

Scott Simon has won every major award in broadcasting for his personal essays, war reporting, and commentary. He has reported from all fifty states, scores of foreign countries, and eight wars. He hosts Weekend Edition with Scott Simon Saturday mornings on National Public Radio (which the Washington Post has called "the most literate, witty, moving, and just plain interesting news show on any dial") is a Special Contributor to CBS Sunday Morning, and is the author of nine books.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

1. How does Sal Gal perceive the world around her? What examples can you think of where she takes in the world around her through the five senses?


2. How do children react to meeting Sally and the other residents of Sunnyside Plaza? Do those reactions change based on the behavior of the adults around them and if so, how?


3. At the Passover Seder, everyone discusses the destinations of the Hebrews and other refugees. Who else in the book finds a new home or life? How do different cultures come together throughout the book?


4. Conrad explains to Sally that “sometimes, much as we love them, we just aren’t the best people to be able to help the people we love” (p. 119). What different kinds of caregiving are discussed throughout the book? How does Sally think of her mother?


5. At each stop on their journey to the police station, the residents of Sunnyside Plaza encounter different types of people. How do these people engage with the residents? What behaviors do you think made Sally and her friends feel welcomed?


6. How do the residents of Sunnyside Plaza work together? What strengths do they each bring to the table?


7. What does family mean to the residents of Sunnyside Plaza? How does this definition change over the course of the book?


8. Sal Gal is confronted by death and dying several times throughout the book. How does she cope with death? How do she and the other residents of Sunnyside Plaza grapple with what comes after death?


9. Sally maintains a very open and welcoming personality. What examples can you think of where Sally makes other people feel more comfortable? What other ways does she impact the people around her?


10. Esther tells Sally that “sometimes life puts people in front of you because you’re not supposed to just walk past them” (p. 189). Which characters in the book best illustrate this idea? How can you live this in your daily life?



Coverage from NPR