One Time

Creech, Sharon. One Time. New York: Joanna Cotler Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2020.
Gina’s mind is always racing. Always observing the world around her, noticing details other people miss. But she often feels alone. Until Antonio moves next door and Miss Lightstone becomes her new homeroom teacher
“Who are you?”
“What could you be?”
Those are the questions asked in this easy-to-read novel highly recommended for readers 10 to 13 years old. (Also recommended for teachers who enjoy being inspired by new ideas.)

Of course, all novels by Sharon Creech are recommended for readers who wonder about life’s mysteries.  Find more here!

Read Allen Say’s stories, too.

And if you like words, also read…

Knight, Mary. Saving Wonder. New York: Scholastic Press, 2016.
Twelve-year-old Curley Hines lives in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. Most of his relatives have died, his father in a coal mining accident and his mother and younger brother in a mud slide caused by the mine. So now he lives with his grandfather who – every week – gives him a new word to learn: 26 letters x 2 = 52 weeks and 52 new words every year.

Right from the first sentence, this debut novel is full of the joy of life: love, hope, and determination. And the power of words! Which is exactly what Curley needs to use when the mine announces their plans to blow the top of Red Hawk Mountain. Coal is needed and a new mine manager is resolute in his decision to expand operations. Curley and his best friend Jules – with the help with her new boyfriend, the mine manager’s son –  get together to oppose the destruction of their beloved home.
Each chapter in the story emphasizes one of Curley’s words and ends with a definition. The humour in the format is delightful and never feels overbearing or didactic, probably because of Curley’s spunk and his grandfather’s loving wisdom. This novel is highly recommended for readers 10 to 14 years old. [Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining; Environmentalism; Friendship; Grandfathers; Kentucky; Orphans]   

More books about imagination

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe

Springstubb, Tricia. The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe. New York: Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, 2021.
Eleven-year-old Loah Londonderry is left with elderly caretakers when her mother goes on an Arctic research expedition to study a rare species of bird. While Loah enjoys being at home, she desperately misses her mother and counts down the days until her return. Only her mother doesn’t return. She goes missing. It is up to Loah to sound the alarm. This pitch-perfect novel of friendship and courage is highly recommended for readers 10 to 14 years old.
P.S. Always check out novels published by Margaret Ferguson Books. They are invariably beautifully written stories full of adventure and grace.

“Expeditions come in every size and shape. You can be an explorer without ever leaving home.” (p. 172)

More stories of adventure

More stories of strong female characters

More stories of friendship

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

World Animal Day

October 4 is World Animal Day!

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France, French writer


Parry, Rosanne. A Wolf Called Wander. New York: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2019.
Heart of a Shepherd , about the son of a soldier in Iraq, and Written in Stone, about an indigenous girl during the 1920s, are hauntingly memorable novels by Rosanne Parry: easy to read but hard to forget. A Wolf Called Wander is another remarkable story by this same author. This time, the protagonist is a wolf, Swift, who is separated from his pack and forced to find a new home far from his old territory. Based on the true story of a wolf who travelled 1,000 miles throughout the Pacific Northwest, this first person account – told from Swift’s point of view – will appeal to animal lovers and environmentalists 10 to 15 years old. A map and additional information about wolves and other animals of the Pacific Northwest are included at the end of the novel.

 

Klukow, Ellen, Mary. Siberian Huskies. Mankato: Amicus, 2020.

I will remember Siberian huskies! Firstly, I will remember that they can have mismatched eyes. Secondly, I will remember that they stay the happiest with people or other dogs. They are social dogs. They love their families. Thirdly, I will remember that they don’t just look like wolves, but they also howl like wolves. Most dogs bark, but instead of barking, huskies howl. Their howls are very loud. And that is the reason they are considered vocal dogs! Fourthly, I will remember that mother huskies can have four to six puppies in a litter. All husky puppies are born with their markings; they learn howling from their mother. Fifthly, I will remember that they are considered to be escape artists. They are good at escaping from almost anywhere. They can be dig under fences. They can jump over fences. They are strong! One cool husky even ate through concrete to escape… Sixth – and most importantly – I will remember that in 1925, huskies saved the town of Nome, Alaska. People were dying of diphtheria, a disease that gives people a fever and a sore throat. Sled dogs brought them medicine that no one else could provide; those Siberian huskies saved 10,000 people: that’s a lot! – Sunmeet in grade 6

More Books about Dogs

Books about Cats

Books about animal intelligence

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Billy Miller Makes a Wish

Henkes, Kevin. Billy Miller Makes a Wish. New York: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2021.
Billy makes a wish on his eighth birthday. Will it come true?  Set in the summer before grade three, this story of everyday family life is told from Billy’s perspective. The worries of life. The irritations. The questions. The reassurances from loving parents. All are charmingly depicted in this beginner’s novel highly recommended for readers 7 to 9 years old. 

P.S. An earlier novel – published in 2013 and set when Billy is in grade two – is also highly recommended.

More novels for young readers

More stories set in the U.S.A.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

On the Side of Angels

Kusugak, Jose Amaujaq. On the Side of the Angels. Iqaluit, Nunavut: Inhabit Education Books Inc., 2020.
How do you explain life to yourself when you are suddenly – and inexplicably – thrust into a foreign culture? How do you make sense of all the changes?
Jose Kusugak – in this nonfiction narrative – tells the story of his childhood. A carefree Arctic life playing games with siblings and trying to figure out the strange stories told by the Catholic Church. A confusing life in residential school where horrors mixed with happy events. This straight-forward account is unique in showing – in straightforward language – a child’s view while simultaneously providing an adult’s perspective.
While catalogued as a children’s book, some of the references might be too graphic for young readers. Some of the references to Bible stories might be puzzling to readers unacquainted with Christianity. Nevertheless, at only 54 pages in length and printed in a relatively large font, this matter-of-fact and even occasionally humorous autobiography is highly recommended for discriminating readers eleven years old and up.

More stories of indigenous people of North America 

More stories of abuse

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Stolen Words

Florence, Melanie. Stolen Words. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2017.
What did you call your grandfather when you were very young? Grandpa? Opa? Papi? Baba? How does hearing the words of your early childhood affect your memories? Your emotions?
A little girl asks her grandfather what to call him in Cree. He doesn’t know. He was sent to residential school when he was young and his language was taken away from him. So she goes to her school library and comes home with a book: Introduction to Cree. Together, they learn the language of their culture. This gently powerful picture book – illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard – is highly recommended for readers of all ages.   

More stories of indigenous people of North America

More stories of books and libraries

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Dr. Fauci

Messner, Kate. Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021.
A straight-forward picture book biography – with extensive additional information, including information on how vaccines are developed, a reading list, a timeline, and numerous photographs – for curious readers 6 to 11 years old. Useful for classroom discussions and as a springboard to research. Recommended for its timeliness.

More biographies

Print Friendly, PDF & Email