Kindergarten-Third Grade

The Great Indoors 

By Julie Falatko; illustrated by Ruth Chan

In this mischievous comedy, as the humans leave in a camper van, bears, beavers, deer and skunks move into their house. The deer bring a karaoke machine; the beavers take over the kitchen; etc. The animals’ week of excess leads to chaos before they all depart, cheerfully promising to return next year. Expressive cartoon illustrations play up the outlandish humor inherent in forest creatures vacationing indoors. (Review courtesy of Horn Book Guide) Interest Level: K-3; To purchase this book, click here.


Third-Sixth Grade

Song for a Whale 

By Lynne Kelly

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the story of a deaf girl’s connection to a whale whose song can’t be heard by his species and the journey she takes to help him.

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be. When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him but he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter

Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves. Interest Level: 3-6; To purchase this book, click here.

Young Adult

Wild bird 

By Wendelin Van Draanen

Fourteen-year-old Wren Clemmens is awakened by cops at 3:47 a.m. and forcibly delivered to a wilderness therapy program in the southern Utah desert. It’s no surprise that she is filled with anger, bitterness, and resentment-at her parents, her tattle-tale older sister, and the world. Wren had become caught in a downward spiral of drinking, drug abuse and shoplifting, and her parents found themselves without other options. Now Wren is forced to confront the unforgiving elements and the stark results of her actions. Gradually, however, she lets down her

defenses and learns who she wants to be. This is a strikingly raw and emotional story about making poor choices, facing the agonizing consequences, and ultimately experiencing the joy of getting a second chance. This first-person narrative perfectly captures Wren’s cynical yet vulnerable teen voice. The protagonist’s transformation is slow but realistic. Flashbacks flow naturally through the book, eventually revealing how Wren arrived at this point. The author deals with some heavy issues but never crosses the line into sensationalism. VERDICT A hopeful novel that demonstrates that people can change. (Review courtesy of School Library Journal) Grade 8 & Up. To purchase this book, click here.

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