Books of the Week

 WALKIN’ THE DOG, the newest middle grade novel by National Book Award finalist Chris Lynch

In a family of strong personalities with very strong points of view, Louis is what his mother lovingly calls “the inactivist,” someone who’d rather kick back than stand out. He only hopes he can stay under the radar when he starts high school in the fall, his first experience with public school after years of homeschooling. But when a favor for a neighbor and his stinky canine companion unexpectedly turns into a bustling dog-walking business, Louis finds himself meeting an unprecedented number of new friends—both human and canine. Agatha, a quippy and cagey girl his age always seems to be telling two truths and a lie. Cyrus, a few years his senior, promises he’s going to show Louis how to be a better person, whether Louis wants him to or not. And then there are the dogs: misbehaving border terriers, the four (possible stolen) sausage dogs, the rest of Louis’s charges, and a mysterious white beast who appears at a certain spot at the edge of the woods. 

Dogs and human alike all seem to have something they want to teach Louis, including his menacing older brother who keeps turning up everywhere. But is Louis ready to learn the lesson he needs most: how to stop being a lone wolf and be part of a pack?

Chris Lynch is the award–winning author of several highly acclaimed young adult novels, including Printz Honor Book FreewillIcemanGypsy Davey, and Shadow Boxer—all ALA Best Books for Young Adults—as well as Killing Time in Crystal CityLittle Blue LiesPiecesKill SwitchAngry Young Man, and Inexcusable, which was a National Book Award finalist and the recipient of six starred reviews. Chris is the author of middle grade novel Walkin’ the Dog. He holds an MA from the writing program at Emerson College. He teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Lesley University. He lives in Boston and in Scotland.


NYT-bestselling author Beth Ferry and Caldecott Honoree Brendan Wenzel’s powerful picture book, SOLAR BEAR is the perfect book for Earth Day!

 In this lyrical call-to-action about the climate crisis, a band of glowing polar bears shine their light on endangered species around the world to raise awareness about extinction. The result is a hauntingly beautiful collaboration – complete with informative backmatter about endangered species, success stories from conservationist work, and ways to join the cause to protect wildlife – that will inspire young readers to resist indifference and make change for animals who can’t advocate for themselves. 

Between Brendan’s avid work as a conservationist (which you can read more about in the book’s backmatter) and Beth’s ability to hold space for both urgency and hope – an essential lesson for young readers and adults alike – this picture book serves as a soulful love letter to all the animals who live on planet Earth with us. 

 Newbery Award-winning author Patricia MacLachlan’s final novel PAINTING THE GAME

Lucy’s father is a minor league baseball player, a professional pitcher hoping to get called up to the majors, and Lucy inherited his passion for the game. But she’s never played pitcher. She worries her skills would be compared to her dad’s and she’d never measure up. And his pitching may mean big things for his career and their family, but it’s also what keeps him away from home so much of the year. Sometimes, Lucy isn’t sure what would be worse: being bad at pitching or being great.

Still, this summer, Lucy wants to learn to throw the perfect knuckleball. She wakes up at the crack of dawn to practice in secret, without her friends Tex and Robin—or even the goats who watch them play. Even as she trains relentlessly, Lucy wonders if she’ll ever feel brave enough to share her progress with her mom or dad. Can she prove to them, and herself, that she has what it takes?

This is a wonderful middle grade read!

Loved this one!

THIS WOLF WAS DIFFERENT: written by Katie Slivensky; illustrated by Hannah Salyer Inspired by natural history, this captivating picture book imagines how humans and wolves first came together. Long ago, a wolf pup was born in a forest. This pup was a wolf, and so were her brothers and sisters. But this wolf was different. She liked staying close to the den instead of hunting, and wished she were more like her siblings—more like a real wolf. Then she meets a new kind of creature, a human. As a new friendship blossoms, the wolf discovers that it’s okay to be different. This gorgeously illustrated book includes extensive backmatter with scientific information about how wolves and humans first connected. 


ONE DAY THIS TREE WILL FALL: written by Leslie Barnard Booth, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman. Discover how a tree’s wounds and decay bring new life to the forest ecosystem in this lyrical nonfiction picture book. There are many ways a tree’s story could end: Gobbled up by a bird as a tiny seed. Damaged by wind or ice or fire. Chopped down and hauled away. But some trees survive, and grow old. Riddled with scars, cracks, and crevices, one specific tree becomes a place creatures large and small call home. One day, after standing tall for centuries, this tree will fall. But even then, is its story over? Or will it continue to nurture the forest and its creatures for many years to come?

I love the main (mouse)character in this book!

THE QUIET FOREST: written by Charlotte Offsay, illustrated by Abi Cushman. A mischievous mouse wanders alone in a quiet, nothing-to-do forest. Until one small mishap snowballs into a chain of outrageous events, causing the whole forest full of animals to have a very loud day indeed. Can they find a way to bring calm and quiet back to their home? Link to a PDF of THE QUIET FOREST.

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate in this featured book post. Cover images and info were also received. As always, I only feature books that I recommend.

Speak Your Mind