When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin (2016)

whenfriendship_front-165x248If you want issues, this book has got them.  Lots of them.

Recommended grade level: 5-8

Pages: 256 (for ISBN 9780803738164 )

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction

Tone/Style: resigned, exploratory

Pace: moderate

Topics: dogs, cancer, writing, magicians, libraries, adoptees, abuse

Themes: illness, belonging, finding meaning, grief and loss, death, change

Summary: Ben Coffin knows from foster care that people can leave you without a good-bye. That’s why he prefers to hide out in the Coney Island library with his sci-fi novels, until he rescues an abandoned dog from the alley next door. Scruffy little Flip introduces Ben to fellow book lover Halley—yes, like the comet. Some call her Rainbow Girl for her crazy-colored clothes, but for Ben it’s her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day. Continue reading

Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle (2013)

51Oei844sIL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A simple but emotion-packed middle grade boy-and-his-dog story.

Recommended grade level: 3-6

Pages: 224 (for ISBN 9780805095166)

Genre(s) and keywords: novel in verse, realistic fiction, animal fiction, reluctant readers, Latino/Latina

Continue reading

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio (2015)

augThree novellas from the point of view of three different characters offer new insight into the world of Palacio’s 2012 bestseller Wonder.

Recommended grade level: 3-6

Pages: 303 (for ISBN 9781101934852)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, novella

Tone/Style: thoughtful

Pace: leisurely to moderate

Topics: The Julian Chapter: bullying, feuds, parent-school relations, World War II.

Pluto: divorce, accidents, memories, childhood friendships, outer space, dogs

Shingaling: dance, cliques

Themes: The Julian Chapter: reasons for meanness, redemption, forgiveness

Pluto: difficult friendships, long-distance friendships relationships with parents, guilt

Shingaling: reasons for kindness, going outside of friend groups, self-discovery

Summary: Over 2 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Readers have also been treated to three stories offering a special look at Auggie’s world through new points of view. Continue reading