Caitlyn's Recommendation: The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
This charming middle grade novel is about the town Stone-In-The-Glen, which used to be a lovely town, just lovely, ask anyone! But the town has taken a turn for the worse; neighbors don't trust each other anymore, a rash of fires has destroyed parts of town, and a charming dragon-slayer-turned-mayor has convinced everyone that he alone can fix everything. Meanwhile, the Orphan House faces issues as they struggle to make ends meet with the 10+ kids that it was never supposed to have. And the ogress who lives just outside of town delivers crates of food to her neighbors in the dead of night in the attempt to be a good neighbor. But when one of the orphans go missing, the townspeople are quick to blame the Ogress, and the "charming" mayor only fuels the fire. This middle grade book challenges readers to think about what they're told, march to the beat of their own drum, and to think for themselves. Best for grades 5 and up.
Kristy's Recommendation: Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? by Leslie Connor
Bubbly Aurora (self described as “too much for a lot of people”) is best friends with Frenchie, her non-verbal, bird loving neighbor. The two are inseparable until 6th grade when they are placed in different classrooms. Not long after that, Frenchie slips out the school door one day and disappears into the woods of their Maine town. What follows is a heartwarming but nerve-wracking account of the search for Frenchie from a variety of townspeople’s POV, as well as Aurora’s and sometimes even Frenchie’s.
Leslie Connor does such a great job bringing this story to life. It is funny and interesting and uplifting and very very readable.
A perfect reflection of positivity and kindness, and a community coming together— which makes it a great book to read for these trying times. This story would make a great family read aloud for all ages, and an independent read for grade 3 and up
Felicia's Recommendation: Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth
A laugh-out-loud funny book about serious topics. Aideen is struggling with her mother's drinking problem coming back, her best friend pulling away AND new found pressure from her new homeroom teacher. Of course instead of focusing on herself, she teams us with her archenemies, Meabh, to try to fix her life. Aideen finds that it's much easier to help other people with their problems than focusing on her own and she starts making a business out of it! This book takes place in Ireland, so I highly recommend the audiobook if you want to listen to an Irish accent for a few hours. Good for grades 7 and up.