Ava and Pip
Pub: March 4, 2014
Outgoing Ava loves her older sister, Pip, but can’t understand why Pip is so reserved and never seems to make friends with others. When Ava uses her writing talents to help her sister overcome her shyness, both girls learn the impact their words and stories can have on the world around them.
Dear New Diary,
You won’t believe what I just found out.
Fifth grade started today, and my homeroom has three Emilys but only one Ava, so at dinner, I asked Mom and Dad why they named me Ava
Innocent question, right?
Well, Dad answered: “We like palindromes.”
“Palinwhat?” I said.
“Palindromes,” Dad replied, passing the salad. “Words that are the same backward and forward.”
“Like M-O-M,” Mom said.
“And D-A-D,” Dad said.
“And P-I-P,” Pip chimed. Apparently she knew all about this. “And H-A-N-N-A-H,” she added. That’s Pip’s middle name.
My full name is Ava Elle Wren. When people ask what the L stands for, they expect me to say Lily or Lauren or Louise, but I say, “It’s not L, it’s E-L-L-E.”
I thought about P-I-P, H-A-N-N-A-H, A-V-A, and E-L-L-E, and stared at my parents. “You chose our names because of how they’re spelled? Wow.” Then I noticed how you spell “wow” (W-O-W).
And suddenly it was as if I saw the whole world—or at least the Whole World of Words—in a brand-new way.
My parents’ names are Anna and Bob (A-N-N-A and B-O-B), and they are word nerds.
“Why didn’t you tell me before?” I asked.
“You never asked,” Dad answered.
“When did you tell Pip?”
“A while ago,” Mom said, “when she asked.”
Pip looked at me and shrugged. “At least we didn’t get named after Nana Ethel.”
Pip is twelve—for one more month. She talks at home, but at school, she is extremely shy. Pip was a preemie, which means she was born early. Since our last name is Wren, which is the name of a bird, Mom and Dad sometimes call her Early Bird.
When Pip was little, they worried about her a lot. To tell you the truth, they still worry about her a lot. They also pay way more attention to her than to me. I try not to let it bother me…but it kind of does. I’m only human.
“Guess who was the first woman in the world?” Pip asked.
“Huh?” I replied, then noticed how “huh” (H-U-H) is spelled.
“Eve,” Pip said. “E-V-E!
Dad jumped in. “And guess what Adam said when he saw Eve?”
“What?” I said, totally confused.
“Madam, I’m Adam!” Dad laughed.
“A palindrome!” Mom explained. “M-A-D-A-M-I-M-A-D-A-M.”
“A whole sentence can be a palindrome?” I asked.
“Yes.” Dad pointed to Mom’s plate. “Like, ‘Ma has a ham!’”
Pip spelled that out: “M-A-H-A-S-A-H-A-M.”
I put down my fork, looked from my S-I-S to my M-O-M to my P-O-P, and started wondering if other people’s families are as nutty as mine. Or is mine extra nutty? Like, chunky-peanut-butter nutty?