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Dear Friends,
The wonders of electronics allow me to have this sent to you, even while I am away on retreat, "off the grid." Which means I have no idea what is happening in the world at the time you receive this. But I've written this review at a time of lots of political and social turmoil, so it's probably no coincidence that most of this month's picks are somewhat serious, though they are also quite imaginative. 

There are two very imaginative adventures this month, both for 9 to 12: The Wild Book is a thoughtful homage to reading and books, and the importance of community as well. The Griffin's Feather has non-stop action, fantastical animals, and a very strong message about endangered species. 

The two other books are non-fiction, and are best for 12 to 14. The first is a rewrite of an adult book, written for older children (13, 14), and is not really 'entertainment' but an honest look about the effects, including depression, on a young child left to fend for herself. My Family Divided is 
written by a contemporary young Latino actress about the deportation of her parents, and the impact on her life. The second book is about service in rural Kenya, called A Calf Named Brian Higgins, a very helpful book to orient children to less affluent lifestyles and cultures.

I hope you enjoy reading these books with your children.

Laura Duggan

The Wild Book

Published: 2017
Theme: Books and Readers
Best for: 9 and up

“Books are the external memory of mankind–a warehouse of memories.” 

Translated from Spanish, this excellent children’s book leads us into the investigation of the value and power of books and how to befriend them. Read more

The Griffin's Feather 

Published:  2018
Theme: Protection of Endangered Species
Best for: 9 and up

“This story is for all who have the courage to protect instead of dominate, to save instead of plunder, and to preserve instead of destroy.” 

A sequel to Dragon Rider, this action-packed adventure, with fantastical animals, is all about protecting all living beings. Read more ›

My Family Divided

Published: 2018
Theme: Immigration and Survival
Best for: 14 and up

“Behind every one of the headlines on deportation there is a family. Innocent children. True stories that are rarely told. At last, I found the courage to tell you mine.” 

This is best for parents and children to discuss how to deal with the current inhumane immigration policies, and realize the impact on children. 
Read More

A Calf Named Brian Higgins

Published: 2019
Theme: Service in Rural Kenya
Best for: 11 - 14

"Yeah, no one here has food allergies.” Hannah’s eyes shifted and narrowed. How is that possible? We’re worried about what food to let in our schools and here they’re worried about having food at all.” 

In this semi-fictional children’s book, we are inspired to extend ourselves to other cultures, to learn more about them, and to help when we can. 
Read More
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