Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
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.
Perfect Picture Book Friday
Swashby and the Sea (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020) by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal is a delightfully warm story that can be read over and over. This story has such a sweet ending.
I love what it says about the sea and Swashby, “She knew him in and out, up and down, and better than anyone.” And I love the adorable illustrations.
Captain Swashby, now retired, is happy living by the sea. Until…neighbors show up. He keeps writing messages to them like “no trespassing” and the sea fiddles with each a bit like “sing.” Will Swashby learn to accept these intruders?
Beth Ferry is the author of Caveman Crush and has quite a number of other books–see them here. I need to check out some more. I like the unusual facts and the box format of her about page.
Author/illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal was born in Peru. You may have heard about her debut picture book, Alma and How She Got Her Name which was a 2019 Caldecott honor book. She’s also a 2018 Pura Belpré Medalist. Read her other awards here.
Perfect Picture Book Friday
In a Jar (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) by Deborah Marcero is a delightful book of magical remembrances and friendship. And it’s about collecting, which kids love to do. I love the feel of the illustrations, too.
Llewellyn collects things in jars. These jars remind him of “all the wonderful things” he has seen and done. One evening he collects “cherry light into his jars.” (I so want to be able to do this.) And gives one jar of light to Evelyn. The two become friends and collect together. Then she moves away. “With Evelyn gone, Llewellyn’s heart felt like an empty jar.” See how he solves this.
This book reminds me a lot of Button and Bundle by Gretchen McLellan. See an interview with the author here. The two books make good companion stories.
Author/illustrator Deborah Marcero has written and/or illustrated other books. Read about them here.