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touch blue by Cynthia Lord

04th January 2011

Tess Brooks’ island school will be shut down by the state, unless their school can enroll 5 more children.  So the island families agree to host 5 foster children, both to help the children and to keep their school open.  Tess is thrilled when her family welcomes an older foster brother.  All she knows about foster children has come from reading books, but she hopes that her foster brother Aaron will be just a little like Anne Shirley.

But instead of a becoming a “bosom friend,” Aaron avoids Tess and her family, and despises island living.  So Tess must take matters into her own hands.  Armed with her lucky charms, Tess crafts a plan to keep Aaron in her family and save her school at the same time.  An excellent book about family and belonging for upper elementary.

Alabama Moon by Watt Key

07th September 2009

Moon and his Pap have been living in the Alabama wilderness for as long as Moon can remember.  They are completely self-sufficient and trust no one.  When Moon’s Pap dies, Moon is determined to carry out his father’s last wishes, and travel to Alaska.  But before Moon can begin his trip, he is taken into state custody and locked up in a boy’s home.  Moon quickly makes both friends and enemies in his quest to flee to Alaska and find a place where he belongs.  An excellent book. Would be great for late elementary/middle school reluctant readers.

Chase Walker has mysteries to solve:  Who is his real father?  What is the true story behind his foster dad’s secret past?  And, what secret is the mysterious boy called “Sketch” hiding?   The thing I loved about this book was Martin’s emphasis on the importance of fathers.  As he says, “nothing compares” to the importance of a father’s love for his children.  As a mother, I tend to read a lot of chick lit glorifying mother-love.  And of course, I know this is important, but it was refreshing to read a novel all about a child’s search for the one thing he needed most: his father.

This is Hayden’s first novel. It’s written for kids. David has been bouncing around different foster homes forThe Very Worst Thing as long as he can remember. When he finds an owl egg, he and a classmate decide to try and hatch it. In the process, they become friends. A good book about friendship, responsibility, and belonging.