Sassy #1
Little Sister is
Not My Name

Shopping Cart
Sassy #1 - Little Sister is Not My Name

View Cart
Back to Books

Intro, Summary & General Questions

Click here for more info on all four Sassy books.

Visit eBook Website

We're really sorry, but this one is temporarily out of print. It is available in paperback, however, through the Scholastic book fairs.

It's not easy being nine. It's hard to get respect from your family when you're the youngest and smallest in the house. You know your family loves you, but it drives you crazy because they insist on calling you Little Sister instead of Sassy.

But Sassy sparkles with imagination and style. She'd change the boring blue school uniforms she and her friends have to wear to lovely costumes in shades of strawberry or jade. You'd serve boysenberries at lunch and require marigolds in every classroom. And you help your friends and family in all kinds of situations with the wonderful and mysterious items--from lip gloss to paper clips to superglue-- that are tucked into your marvelous Sassy Sack.

When Sassy's Grammy comes to visit, and her family is trapped in a scary situation, Sassy learns that courage comes in all sizes, that small can be very tall, and being called Little Sister might not be so bad after all.

The Sassy Series

Sassy #1 - Little Sister is Not My Name

Sassy #2 - The Birthday Storm

Sassy #3 - The Silver Secret

Sassy #4 - The Dazzle Disaster Party

Shopping Cart
Sassy #1 - Little Sister is Not My Name

View Cart
Back to Books

Reviews & Awards

We're really sorry, but this one is temporarily out of print. It is available in paperback, however, through the Scholastic book fairs.

Sassy: Little Sister Is NOT My Name!
Sharon M. Draper.
Scholastic Press, $14.99 (112p)
ISBN 978-0-545-07151-2

Two-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Draper hits her middle-grade target in this cheerful yet reflective novel about feeling appreciated and finding one's place. "I'm pretty invisible around here," complains fourth-grader Sassy, who is annoyed that her parents and older siblings insist on calling her "Little Sister," and that she's always last in the family pecking order. Though she also grumbles about having to wear a drab uniform to school, Sassy does her best to look "distinctive and unique" by wearing glittery fingernail polish and shimmering lip gloss-and by toting her "Sassy Sack." Made by her beloved Granny, this colorful bag holds everything from Life Savers to shoelaces, sunglasses to mittens. "Even I'm not sure what all's in there, but I know when I reach down into it, I always seem to find exactly what I need," she says. A "Who Am I" class project and a situation in which Sassy's diminutive stature saves the day underscore Draper's clever and careful consideration of external and internal qualities. Filled with energy and opinion, Sassy more than lives up to her name. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)

Nine-year-old Sassy, the youngest child in an active, warm family, wants to be taken seriously. Teasing seventh-grade brother Sabin and sophisticated 16-year-old sister Sadora get to be called their given names, but Sassy is called Little Sister most of the time. Her loving African-American family gets so busy that they sometimes even forget she is there, despite her fancy clothes and unique style. But Sassy never forgets them. Whenever there is an emergency, Sassy is there with her Sassy Sack, full of just what is needed, from lip gloss to glue to a flashlight. Sassy might be small, but she is the right size to save the day just when her family needs her most. While her first-person voice sometimes slips from a genuine-sounding fourth grader to that of an adult, Sassy's story of family, school and one special grandmother is a sweet one. Newly independent readers, especially little girls who love fashion, will identify with Sassy and will look forward to more stories about her life and family. (Fiction. 7-10)

Sassy finds her school uniform boring, and she loves shopping at the mall, dressing up, and eating out at fancy places. As the youngest in her African American family, she hates being called Little Sister, but it is hard to get her busy parents to hear her.

In fact, she feels pretty invisible at home, except when her beloved Grammy, who first turned her on to reading, comes to visit and performs as a professional storyteller in Sassy’s school. Draper is an award-winning teacher and writer, and the classroom scenes, including the teacher’s mistakes, are as much fun as the family uproar.

Told in Sassy’s lively voice, this first title in the new Sassy series is more than a situation, and in the story’s dramatic climax, it is the smallest kid who saves the day. Young grade-schoolers will eagerly wait for more about resourceful, “sparky” Sassy and her search for herself. — Hazel Rochman

5.0 out of 5 stars
Whether It is Magical or Not, Her Story Most Definitely Is, June 3, 2009 By (New York, NY)
Sassy Simone Sanford is only nine years old, but that doesn't stop her from resenting the fact that her glamorous 16-year-old sister Sadora and her chowhound 12-year-old brother Savin call her "Little Sister." Even her parents are guilty of this. The reality is that she is little --- teeny-tiny to be exact.

Sassy lives up to her real name. She has to wear a boring blue and white uniform to school but jazzes herself up with glitter polish, shiny lip gloss and her fabulous, magical Sassy Sack. Her grandmother made the handbag especially for her. It's shimmery-shiny and sparkly, all purple, silver, pink and magenta, with buttons, compartments and zippers galore. Sassy keeps that bag filled. She not only has items you might expect a fourth-grade girl to carry, such as stickers and hair doo-dads, lotion and nail polish, she also stocks the Sassy Sack with the most unexpected objects --- things that just seem to come in handy during the most unusual circumstances.

The other characters in the story don't quite fit the expected mold and are all the better for it. Sassy's dad is a teacher who loves his wife's cooking a bit too much, her mother is an executive who works in a very fancy office building, and her grandmother is a famous storyteller who has performed in Africa and the White House.

Sassy has tons of friends; she entertains them by telling how it would be if she were in charge of the school dress code and other items of school business. Mondays would be strawberry days, for example. Everyone would wear pink (boys, too!). Each student would get pink bubble gum for the mandatory bubble-blowing contest. The cafeteria would serve up strawberry jelly doughnuts and pink lemonade.

School is the source of adventures that are relayed with great good humor. When a boy gets his head stuck in his chair, a student who wants to be a nurse covers the back half of him with his jacket. Sassy confides that poor Travis "looks like a horse with a blanket on his back, ready to go to the barn." She pulls a few goodies out of her bottomless Sassy Sack to soothe the victim, sharing some tropical fruit Lifesavers and cooling him down with a small battery-run fan. And when her teacher's camera runs out of film, Sassy pulls out a disposable camera. The book's eventual culminating adventure involves Sassy's family and is the perfect, fitting climax to her story.

It is such a refreshing delight to read of an angstless girl with many friends and a warm and loving family. Sassy has major attitude, but it's never of the mean-girl variety. She has lots of self-confidence and an inviting, upbeat personality --- and yet she manages to be a complex, fully-formed character who tells a good story. Sassy has some insights on adults that are hilarious and right-on (for example, her utter scorn that her mother believes fourth-grade girls are too young to be interested in boys). Her Sassy Sack is a great nearly/definitely/maybe/almost magical embellishment on the order of Mary Poppins's carpet bag. Whether it is magical or not, her story most definitely is. --- Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon

The Sassy Series

Sassy #1 - Little Sister is Not My Name

Sassy #2 - The Birthday Storm

Sassy #3 - The Silver Secret

Sassy #4 - The Dazzle Disaster Party

Shopping Cart
Sassy #1 - Little Sister is Not My Name

View Cart
Back to Books

Study Guides

We're really sorry, but this one is temporarily out of print. It is available in paperback, however, through the Scholastic book fairs.

Discussion Topics

Chapter 1 - Little Sister is not my name

  1. What do you learn about Sassy and her older sister on the very first page?

  2. What do you learn about Sassy and her older brother on the second page of the story?

  3. What do you learn about Sassy on the first three pages of the story?

  4. Why is Sassy giving her family the silent treatment? Why don't they notice?

  5. How did Sassy get her name? Do you think it fits her?

  6. Describe her "Sassy Sack."

  7. Describe all the things that she keeps in it, or that you think she might keep in it.

  8. If you read all of Chapter One, you'll see a description of Sassy and her siblings. Write a description or draw a picture of Sassy, Sadora, and Sabin.

Chapter 2 - Breakfast at our Zoo

  1. Tell what is revealed about the family as they eat breakfast together.

  2. Why does Sabin tease his sisters?

  3. Why is Sassy not noticed at the breakfast table?

  4. How does Sassy spill the milk?

  5. How does her mother react?

  6. Describe Sassy's father.

  7. Describe Sassy's mother.

  8. How can you tell that Sassy and her sister are very close?

  9. What happens when Sassy's friends see Sabin?

  10. Find examples of Sassy finding useful items in her sack in chapter 2.

Chapter 3- Sassy's Dream School

  1. Describe Jasmine and Holly and Carmelita.

  2. What happens on Monday in Sassy's dream school?

  3. What happens on Tuesday in Sassy's dream school?

  4. What happens on Wednesday in Sassy's dream school?

  5. What happens on Thursday in Sassy's dream school?

  6. What happens on Friday in Sassy's dream school?

  7. What do Sassy's descriptions tell you about her imagination?

  8. Describe your dream school.

Chapter 4 - Who am I? Who are You?

  1. Why does Jasmine like Miss Armstrong?

  2. How is Sassy and her sack helpful to her friends?

  3. What makes Sassy and Jasmine crack up?

  4. What does Miss Armstrong want the children to think about for their projects?

  5. What do the children learn about their names?

  6. What does everyone learn about middle names? If you have a middle name, tell what it is.

  7. What does everyone learn about nicknames? If you have a nickname, tell what it is and how you got it.

  8. What is Miss Armstrong's full name? How do the children react when they learn their teacher's name and nickname?

  9. What happens when some of the children combine the names of their mom and dad? Why are some of the combinations funny?

  10. Make a prediction: What will happen to Travis?

Chapter 5 - Travis Wears a Chair

  1. Describe in words what Travis looks like. You can also draw a picture of Travis as he is stuck in the desk.

  2. How do you think Travis feels?

  3. How do you think the other children feel?

  4. How does Sassy help Travis? How do the other children help him?

  5. Why does the teacher call 9-1-1?

  6. Describe the two men who come to rescue Travis.

  7. Why do you think they take his temperature?

  8. How does Sassy and her sack help the teacher?

  9. How does Travis get rescued?

  10. How does the whole class get pizza?

Chapter 6 - Grammy's Here!

  1. How does Sassy get home from school each day?

  2. When Sassy opens her front door, what does she smell? What does that tell her?

  3. Why is Sassy glad to see her grandmother?

  4. Describe Sassy's grandmother. Draw a picture of Grammy.

  5. What is special about the Grammy Bag? Why is like the Sassy Sack?

  6. What does Grammy bring as a gift for Sassy?

  7. What is Grammy's job?

  8. Describe the family dinner. How can you tell the family is close?

  9. What does Grammy tell everyone about why she is visiting? How does Sassy react?

  10. Make a prediction. What will happen when Grammy gets to Sassy's school?

Chapter 7 - Grammy and Sassy Onstage

  1. What outfit does Sassy choose to wear on the day of Grammy's visit? Why can't she wear that outfit?

  2. What does Grammy tell Sassy about clothes and style and feeling elegant?

  3. Describe Grammy's rain stick and drum. Draw a picture.

  4. What is Grammy's full name?

  5. What do Sassy's friends think about Grammy?

  6. What does Miss Armstrong tell Sassy about Grammy's visit?

  7. How does Sassy introduce her grandmother to the children in the auditorium?

  8. How does an item in Sassy's sack help her grandmother while she is on stage?

  9. How does Grammy use her drum and rain stick in her presentation?

  10. How does Sassy feel at the end of the day? Why?

Chapter 8 - Math Class and Mall Magic

  1. How does Sassy feel at school the next day?

  2. Describe Mr. Olsen, the math teacher. Draw a picture.

  3. Why does Sassy have trouble in math class? Do you ever feel like that in a class?

  4. Why is Sassy excited about the trip to the mall with Jasmine?

  5. What does Sassy like best about the mall?

  6. How does an item in Sassy's sack help Jasmine while they are at the mall?

  7. Why does Sassy like The Name Store?

  8. How does an item in Sassy's sack help Jasmine's mother while they are at the mall?

  9. Describe a time when you have been shopping with a friend.

  10. What does Sassy buy while they are at the mall?

Chapter 9 - Let's Go Out to Dinner

  1. Why does Sassy hate to see her grandmother leave?

  2. What does Sassy choose to wear to their fancy dinner with Grammy?

  3. Why does Sassy crack up at her family when they are all dressed up?

  4. What restaurant are they going to? Where is it located?

  5. Describe the fancy restaurant. Draw a picture.

  6. What can they see from the windows of the restaurant?

  7. What does Sassy order for her meal? Why does she feel special when she orders?

  8. What does Sadora order to eat? What about Sassy's mom and dad and grandmother?

  9. Tell everything that Sabin eats and drinks while they are at dinner.

  10. Make a prediction: The family is stuck in the elevator. What will happen?

Chapter 10 - Stuck in the Elevator

  1. What is Sabin's problem?

  2. Why can't they use Mom or Dad's cell phone?

  3. How does Sadora act when she finds out her cell phone does not work?

  4. What does Grammy suggest?

  5. Why does the family say no to her idea?

  6. What does Sassy find in her sack that is helpful while they are trapped?

  7. How big is the opening in the elevator door? Draw a picture.

  8. How do Sabin's boots help?

  9. How does Sassy feel as she is about to go through the opening?

  10. Just before she leaves the elevator, what does Sassy ask her family to do?

  11. Describe how you think Sabin feels as Sassy squeezes through the hole.

Chapter 11 - Can Sassy Save the Day?

  1. Describe Sassy's passage through the opening. Draw a picture.

  2. What does Sassy discover when she gets out of the elevator?

  3. What does Sassy see as she looks out of the window from her mom's office?

  4. Who does Sassy meet in the hallway?

  5. What was the cause of the power outage?

  6. Why does Mr. Williams call Sassy a hero?

  7. Who comes to rescue the family? How did they get up to the twenty-second floor?

  8. Who runs out of the elevator first? Why?

  9. Looking out of the window of Sassy's mom's office, what does it look like when the lights come back on?

  10. How does the family get down to the very first floor?

Chapter 12 - Cameras and Questions

  1. Who greets Sassy's family when they get outside?

  2. Why do you think the reporters are there? Why?

  3. How do you think Sassy feels about all the questions and cameras?

  4. Why is Sassy worried about her hair and her dress?

  5. Why do you think Sabin feels embarrassed?

  6. The reporters take lots of pictures. Which member of the family do the reporters seem take the most pictures of?

  7. What does Grammy mean when she says, "Sometimes the best things come in small packages?"

  8. How does Sassy feel when her father calls her "the woman of the hour?"

  9. What does Sassy admit to the reporter?

  10. Tell if you think Sassy is a hero. Why or why not?

Chapter 13 - Surprises

  1. Why is Sassy sad about her grandmother's leaving?

  2. What does Sassy find on page two of the morning newspaper?

  3. What is funny about the headline, "Little Sister Saves Family?"

  4. Sassy's name is the only one mentioned in the story. Sassy's picture is the only one printed in the paper. How do you think Sabin and Sadora feel about that?

  5. Do you think Sassy feels like a hero? Why or why not?

  6. What does Grammy give each child as she leaves for her airplane?

  7. What does Grammy mean when she says, "Your name is your song, Sassy?"

  8. Describe Sassy's first gift from Grammy.

  9. Describe Sassy's second gift from Grammy.

  10. How do you think make Sassy feel?


Use the internet, or an encyclopedia, or books to find out more about the following:
    A. Information to explore and discover.
    1. Cell phones

    2. Lip gloss

    3. School uniforms

    4. School busses

    5. Electrical blackouts

    6. Elevator operations

    7. Fancy restaurants

    8. Mall operations

    9. Family relationships

    10. Grandparents

    B. Jobs to explore:
    1. Teacher or Principal

    2. Newspaper Reporter

    3. Storyteller

    4. Make-up Artist

    5. Fashion Designer

    6. School Designer

    7. Emergency Technician

    8. Purse Designer

    9. Photographer

    10. Security Guard

    C. Writing activities:
    1. Draw a picture of your dream school.

    2. Write a story, with you as the main character. Write about your family.

    3. Make up a story like Grammy tells. Draw a picture of something in your story.

    4. Write a poem or story about being afraid.

    5. Write a poem or story about friendship.

    6. Write a poem or story about bravery.

    7. Write a newspaper story about how Sassy and her family get rescued.

    8. Write a story about how Sassy is treated when she gets to school the next day.

    9. Write a poem or story about a restaurant, a shopping trip, or any family adventure.

The Sassy Series

Sassy #1 - Little Sister is Not My Name

Sassy #2 - The Birthday Storm

Sassy #3 - The Silver Secret

Sassy #4 - The Dazzle Disaster Party