Author Recommendation: Melanie Weiss
*Click the titles to order!
I loved reading this story to my 5 (almost 6) year old. Birthdays are starting to become a big thing to him and this was such a great message. I appreciated how much it models important social skills - empathy, understanding, siblings (did I tell you I also have a 2 (almost 3) year old, so the fighting is real when it happens), and respecting nature. I plan to read and reread with him so that we can have constant discussions of these important social characteristics.
Synopsis: What kid doesn't want to have an epic birthday party? Seven-year-old Oliver has always wanted an awesome party, but because his birthday is on the Fourth of July, his friends are busy celebrating America's birthday. For his eighth birthday, Oliver's family plans a Pirate Ship Bouncy House party for him two weeks early, so all of his friends can attend, dressed in pirate gear, of course!
But then there's a new problem. A mommy robin builds a nest and lays her eggs tucked in the greenery on Oliver's back deck, just inches from the spot on the driveway where the birthday Pirate Ship Bouncy House will sit. While Oliver is mad, his older sister becomes the robins' biggest fan and teaches Oliver all about them, winning him over. After the bird babies hatch, Oliver wants to help protect the robin family. But can he still have the amazing birthday party he has dreamed about for so long?
When Roman’s life gets turned upside down, (thanks, Mom!?), he is forced to leave his pampered Hollywood lifestyle and move into his grandparents’ Midwestern home. Sleeping on a lumpy pullout sofa and starting at a new high school is the worst, but Roman’s life starts to look up when his pink-haired friend, Zuzu, and his crush, a classmate named Claire, introduce him to performance poetry through the high school's Spoken Word Club. While his mom is flying back and forth to L.A., trying to return them to the life they had, Roman becomes part of a diverse group of characters who challenge his rather privileged view of the world. Through Spoken Word, Roman recognizes the hole in his own life he needs to fill and discovers his voice. Spoken Word leads Roman on a journey of new friendships, first love, and finding the dad he never knew.
A timely story provided for teenagers now in 2021 and how our lives were turned upside down in the past year. The story covers the political strife that students are faced with. A school shooting puts the main characters on opposite sides of gun control; which seems to be how much the world has become in the last few years. Weiss did a great job of addressing this issue. Finding common ground when there are major differences is so hard and so huge (Adults even need a big taste in this lesson). Check out Crossing Lines to see how Alli and Brandon navigate this issue.
Synopsis: Midwestern high school seniors and swim teammates Alli and Brandon are the perfect couple, enjoying their final months of high school and making big plans for the future. When a horrific school shooting sparks a national movement, Alli gets involved with protests in support of gun control legislation, while Brandon defends his pro-gun beliefs and stays on the sidelines. These shifting priorities lead Alli and Brandon to question not only each other but their world views, as they begin to stand up for something bigger than themselves for the first time. Ages 14+