Staying Nine. O.

INFO: Conrad, Pam. Staying Nine. O. 1988.

DESC: Heather adores being nine – and, suddenly, on the eve of her 10th birthday, she’s got a mortal terror of turning any older. With the help of her mother, and her uncle’s girlfriend, Heather is set on finding a way to remain nine. A cute look at the rather bittersweet themes of growing up and aging, Staying Nine is most notable in its portrait of mother-daughter life in a single-parent household.

TAGS: growing up, birthdays, mom & daughter, staying the same, changes, dreams

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Amber Brown Goes Fourth. N.

INFO: Danzinger, Paula. Amber Brown Goes Fourth. N. 1995.

DESC: A hilarious and riveting addition to the Amber Brown series. Paula Danzinger has created a believable, high-spirited and immensely unforgettable character in Amber Brown, who lost her father to divorce, her mother to an annoying new boyfriend, and her best friend to a sudden move to Alabama in the series’ seminal Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon. Here, we see Amber struggling to get ready to enter fourth grade – in the midst of all of these hectic life-changes! How will Amber navigate the fourth grade without her best friend, Justin Daniels? And how will she navigate the trials of back-to-school with her beloved father far away in France? Amber, true-blue, handles all of this with characteristic honesty, spunk, and humor – and, although your kiddos will cheer her on as she “goes fourth,” neither of you will want this one to end!

TAGS: humor, back-to-school, growing up, divorces, family issues, mother-daughter relationships, mothers and daughters, best friends, friends moving away, popularity, friendship between girls, changes, new starts, school, classrooms, 4th grade, summer vacation, fiction, chapter, N

The Velveteen Rabbit. Q.

INFO: Williams, Margery. The Velveteen Rabbit. Q. 1922/1975 (republished).

DESC: This children’s classic is a surprising sleeper hit in the “Q” section – it’s far more lush and complicated than it first appears. The sonorous, lilting language and gorgeous illustrations will give kiddos at this reading level something to delight in; and the complicated moral plotline (i.e. what do we do with old things) has incredibly rich connotations for writing, thinking and unpacking (what do we do about our elders? about waste? about discarded items? cultures of disposability?). Students will also find wonder in the “magical realism” that pervades the book – are there faeries? Did the Velveteen Rabbit really become “real”? This book has fascinated and charmed some of the most stubborn readers – something about the apparent antiquity of the pages (vs. the majority of the other bookroom books, written from the 60s to the 90s) really holds their curiosity. Well worth a read – and fairly fast, too!

TAGS: toys, rabbits, animals, magic, magical realism, classics, rabbits, fiction, growing up, earlier times, faeries, Q