Friday, November 4, 2016

Funny, Inspiring, 'Ride High Pineapple' Is A Great Read

By Kara Jackman 

Interested in an inspirational read for kids and adults? Were you born with a facial difference and faced a bully at school? Then Jenny Woolsey’s Ride High Pineapple just may be the perfect book for you. 

Author, Jenny Woolsey
Woolsey tells the story of Isabella Burgess, a 13 year-old girl that has a secret and bravely decides to share it through a speech she must give about herself in one of her classes. She shares with her fellow students that she has been bullied. She hopes in sharing her personal struggles that the bullying will stop. 

The story is not all doom and gloom. There is lots of joy, excitement, redemption, and the typical pre-teen ups and down, that play out throughout the book. Issy loves to skateboard, even though her Mom worries a lot about her doing so. Her father is supportive of her visits to the skate park. There, she meets friends and falls in love with a boy  who helps her with boarding techniques. 

Issy battles anxiety and depression head on, in a very open and vulnerable way. She has thousands of thoughts about her best friend, Tilly, her face, the bully she faces, and more which she chronicles in her diary. Issy mainly questions Tilly's loyalty when a new, popular girl moves into town. Woolsey does a tremendous job of sharing what it is like to experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder through Issy's diary entries. She is a trustworthy narrator because of her vulnerability and honesty about her thoughts and emotions. 

One day at school, Issy learns that an X-treme sporting event will be held at school. Her teen crush, and friend from the skate park, take part in the three-day clinic held by the professional skaters. One of them is a woman, who takes Issy under her wing, helping to improve her skating skills and confidence  in herself.  She tells Issy that she must think of herself as a pineapple, sweet on the inside, and tough on the outside. If she does that, Issy will be able to accomplish anything she puts her mind to. 

Issy faces additional challenges when she skates in an exhibition competition during an assembly at school, only to fall and break her arm. Will she make it beyond this challenge, too? Will her mother ever let her skate again? Will this mean the end of her friendships? 

You will have to read Ride High Pineapple to find out. 

Author with her children.

About the Author, Jenny Woolsey

Author, Jenny Woolsey is an advocate for facial differences, inclusion, and mental health awareness. She and her children were born with Crouzon’s Syndrome. She says, “Growing up with a a face that was considered a deformity was hard. I was teased daily."

Woolsey realized as a former patient, a current teacher, and advocate for her own children, that a book about someone with a facial difference had not been written. She hopes that the book “raises awareness” and “gives strategies for self-empowerment and self-belief” to those that are bullied about something that they can do very little to change: their appearance.

Children Craniofacial Association supports Woolsey’s mission and message. Erica Mossholder, CCA Executive Director, wrote the book’s foreword. Furthermore, CCA’s logo appears on Ride High Pineapple sealing the story’s approval that is sure to help all people affected by facial difference all over the world.  

Woolsey lives in Australia. You can learn more about her and life as a teacher, blogger, and mother on her website at 

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