Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Desperate Adventures of Zeno & Alya by Jane Kelley
(2015-16 Iowa Children's Choice Nominee)

Book description from Amazon.com...An orphaned African grey parrot who can speak 127 words. A girl so sick she has forgotten what it means to try. Fate--and a banana nut muffin--bring them together. Will their shared encounter help them journey through storms inside and out? Will they lose their way, or will they find what really matters?

My 25 cents...This book was a surprise for me, I really enjoyed it! I did not expect too, as I thought it was going to be "too much" fantasy for my liking.  The characters in this story (parrot and girl) both face their own struggles which are huge in their eyes.  Readers will find themselves cheering to get the two together to team up and help one another!  Pleasantly surprised by this story!! I think this book would be a great read-aloud for a class or even a family that shares books aloud for different ages.  
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
(2015-16 Iowa Teen Nominee)

Book description from Amazon.com...Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.
Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

My 25 cents...This was a delicate story about a girl who is dealt a difficult hand.  Not because she is "extraordinarily odd" (we are all different!) but when her adoptive parents are killed in an accident, Willow must carry on and see that her world is not over like that of her parents.  Readers will find themselves cheering Willow on as she discovers new family and support in her world.  This is a book that older elementary/middle schoolers will most likely enjoy.