Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Straight and Narrows (review)

The Straight and Narrows
Author: Christine A. Emery
Illustrator: Kellie R. Emery
Publisher: Koehler Kids (November 15, 2016)
Digital ARC provided by author

Wide and Curly was born into a family of Straight and Narrows.
She couldn't, wouldn't, didn't fit.

Come along with the Straight and Narrows as they learn in their stick-y situation what it means to be family and the measures they will go through to find acceptance.

I was a little afraid after reading the description that this might be too much of a message book, but with the delightful illustrations and entertaining story, it is a joy to read. After various attempts by the Straight and Narrows make to "fix" their Wide and Curly daughter, they realize that what needs fixing is their attitude.

Perfect for starting discussions in a classroom or with your own kids. In case you worry, this is not a thin vs. fat book, but far more generally applicable to differences of all sorts.

Four stars.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Be Light Like a Bird (review)

Be Light Like a Bird
Author: Monika Schröder
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers (September 1, 2016)
Courtesy of free e-copy from author

Twelve-year-old Wren's life is turned upside down after her father dies in a plane accident. Her mother seems angry and unable to cope, and even more unable to help Wren talk about her grief. They leave their home and move from town to town, settling in each for a few weeks before her mother gets restless and moves on again. Finally, they reach the small town of Pyramid in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Wren decides that whatever it takes, they're going to stay.

Wren struggles to deal with bullies and loneliness, and with her increasing alienation with her mother, but when she finds a mission in the form of protecting a local pond, she starts to make connections and even friends. But she worries that it could all be torn away if her mother decides to leave again.

In time, Wren finds the strength to deal with her issues, and with the very thorny difficulty in forgiving those who may not entirely deserve it. An emotional story that may be hard for middle graders to start, and even harder for them to put down.

I recommend this to all who love the environment, and who may have experienced loss or sadness.

Four stars out of five.