Finding a friend…

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” 
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
 …
Neri, Greg. Tru and Nelle. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
An unlikely friendship builds between a seven-year-old boy who likes to dress in fancy clothes and a six-year-old girl who dresses like a tomboy. But they both enjoy reading. They also like mysteries and set off together to discover who has stolen candy and a brooch from a local drugstore.  Set in Alabama in the summer of 1930, this 268-page novel is based on the real-life friendship between Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee. Readers don’t need that information, though, to enjoy the story. The writing flows like music and the large font and widely spaced lines make it easy to read. Several short stories – inspired by the real Truman’s fondness for short stories – and an historical note with black-and-white photographs round off the book. Highly recommended for readers 8 years old and up.
 …
 
 “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view….Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”  – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Living in Alaska

Hitchcock, Bonnie-Sue. The Smell of Other People’s Houses. New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2016.
Abandonment. Loneliness. Grief. Friendship. The lives of four Alaskan teenagers – Ruth, Dora, Alyce, and Hank – overlap in this coming-of-age novel set in 1970. A strong sense of place and a captivating sense of voice make this an outstanding story for thoughtful readers 13 years old and up.

More stories told from alternating points of view

More stories set in Alaska

More young adult novels

More stories of indigenous people of North America

More stories of runaways

Note: This publisher’s novels are notable for the quality of writing and the depth of insight. If Wendy Lamb publishes a book, pick it up!

Finding love…

High, Linda Oatman. One Amazing Elephant. New York: Harper, 2017.

All sorts of surprises await twelve-year-old Lily when she leaves her father in West Virginia and travels to Florida to attend the funeral of her grandfather. She stays with her grandmother in a circus community. She spends time with her mother, a trapeze artist. She makes a new friend, Henry Jack. And she discovers that her grandfather’s beloved elephant, Queenie Grace, is not frightening after all. This 258-page novel told from alternating points of view is a surprising delight, a heartfelt story of finding unexpected love. Highly recommended for animal lovers 11 to 15 years old. 

More stories set in Florida 

More stories of grief

More stories told from alternating points of view

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” – Leo Tolstoy

 

Filled to the brim…

Cuevas, Michelle. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016.
A lonely man lives his life by the sea, faithfully watching for letters to deliver. Messages that almost always deliver joy to the recipients. Will there never be a message for him? This poignant tale of hope – softly illustrated by Erin E. Stead – will appeal to gentle reflective readers 8 years old and up. [Friendship, Letters, Oceans]

More stories of friendship and love

More stories of philosophy and life

“A friend is what the heart needs all the time.” – Henry Van Dyke, American writer

Follow me…

Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Trouble the Water. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016.

An old yellow dog brings Cassie and Wendell – a black girl and a white boy – together in racially segregated Kentucky in 1953. Buddy leads them to a ramshackle cabin in the woods where two invisible boys are waiting to cross the nearby river. Partly historical fiction, partly a ghost story, this memorable novel by a thought-provoking writer is highly recommended for readers 10 to 15 years old.

More stories of African Americans

More historical novels

More dog stories

More stories set all over the U.S.A.

P.S. Do you know the story of how Jesus healed the sick man by the pool of Bethesda? The man who never got to the pool in time to be healed after an angel ‘troubled the water’? You might like to read about it in John 5 after you read Dowell’s story. Then you might like to think about the Pharisees in the Bible and the townspeople in the story. And think about that pool at the end of the novel. Might you be called to be an angel?

Who will be my friend?

Colfer, Eoin. Imaginary Fred. New York: Harper, 2015.
Loneliness is awful. An imaginary friend might help. But what if a real friend comes along? What will happen to the imaginary friend? How will he feel?
This delightful picture book by an absolutely brilliant team – Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers – is pure joy. The fanciful story and whimsical illustrations will bring laughter to readers of all ages. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

More stories of individual creativity HERE.

More stories to make you laugh HERE.

More picture books HERE.

Making life happier…

Fergus, Maureen. Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby. Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2016.

Fergus, Maureen. Buddy and Earl Go Exploring. Toronto: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2016.

Buddy, a dog, and Earl, a hedgehog, continue the adventures they started in Buddy and Earl. These joyful picture books provide unique perspectives on everyday life and will delight both the adults who read them aloud and the children who listen.

More picture books HERE.

More humorous stories HERE.