The Elephant in the Room (Rocky Pond Books, 2021) by Holly Goldberg Sloan is much more than an immigrant story or a story about autism or even a story about winning the lottery. Plus a real elephant. Told in multiple points of view, this story is a compelling read.
Sila was born in Oregon but her parents are Turkish citizens and something was wrong with her mother’s paperwork so after 15 years in America, her mother has to go back to Turkey. And it’s Sila’s fault. Living without her mother for the last eight months is the hardest thing Sila has ever known. Then she and her dad meet Gio, who won the lottery. And the three of them meet Veda, a circus elephant, whom Gio buys because of Sila. When Sila is assigned to be a partner to Mateo, she surprises herself by inviting him to meet Veda. Who knew this series of events would give hope to everyone involved.
Read about Holly here and check out her other books here.
Keep going. You’re almost there. Just a little more. You are stubborn. You are exhausted. You are determined. You are a Writer.
I had seen a few years ago that new and interesting avenues of thought, conversation and action opened up when I changed the antagonist of a story into its protagonist. This time, instead of switching to another viewpoint character, I changed the heroine’s family background.
Kristin Wolden Nitz
Coyote Queen (Greenwillow Books, 2023) by Jessica Vitalis is a fascinating story of one girl’s experience with poverty, domestic violence, and magic.
Twelve-year-old Fud, Felicity Ulyssa Dahlers, and her mom have always been on their own. Until Larry. Who makes the rules. And has an uneven temper and is super easy to anger. When the new neighbor girl tells her about a beauty pageant where the prize money is enough to get them away from Larry, Fud knows she has to apply and win.
Read the compelling first line: “Before the coyote stuff happened, I would have told you that magic didn’t exist.”
The story is set in Wyoming where Fud sees, and experiences, coyotes in a very unique way. The book just came out, but already it is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.
Inspired by some experiences when Jessica was a child, this is her third book. Read about her other books here. And check out her fun facts on Jessica’s about page here.