The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
This author may sound familiar and yes it is the person who wrote the Animorphs series.
The story of Ivan is far from the above series however. I loved this book. It made me think from Ivan's perspective - a gorilla who had spent most of his life in captivity performing for crowds at the Exit 8 Shopping Mall. He befriends Stella - an elderly elephant, Bob the stray dog and then finally Ruby - a baby elephant.
Ivan realises life cannot continue the same path for Ruby as has happened with Stella. He plots a very clever plan to gain her freedom along with his.
Inspired by a true story, this book highlights the sad plight of captive animals who live lives far from their natural habitats.
I see this story being a successful read aloud and stimulating class discussion on animal welfare.
Other Brother by Simon French
Simon French, an Australian author, has told this story of peer pressure and being different, with skill and compassion.
Kieran discovers he does not want to welcome his cousin Bon into his life, his school and more so, his family. Bon is different and has led a life deprived of many things Kieran takes for granted.
The two boys learn there is much they can give to each other however.
This is a book with strong characters and a believable story line of many families today. A great read.
The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone
Louise Terrace, 13, was a talented gymnast and a natural champion but she leaves the team after a tragedy in her life unfolds. She ends up living with her grandparents, who try desperately to coax her out of her trauma. It is a friendship with her friend's brother that changes her life for the better.
A book you have to finish to discover the secret of Louise's tragedy. Why is she blocking everything out? What caused her to shut her feelings off?
A good story of the value of friends and family.
Ready to issue now.