PAX, by Sara Pennypacker, is the moving story of a boy and the fox that he raised. When his dad goes off to war, the boy must leave the pet behind and move in with his grandfather three hundred miles away. But the boy is overwhelmed with worry and runs off to find his fox. Told in the alternating voices of fox and boy, this is a dual survival story, as each learns what it takes to live and thrive. It’s an age-appropriate look at compassion and responsibility that will tug at reader's heartstrings (and quite possibly give them a good cry). It’s also a nice example of quality bookmaking. From the illustrations by Jon Klassen, to the deckle-edged pages, to the deep green and gold-embossed cover, this is a book to hold and enjoy. (MG)
In UNBECOMING, by Jenny Downham (Before I Die), a grandmother Katie never knew she had comes to live with her mum and brother. But Mary has Alzheimer’s and brings more questions than answers. What’s the real story of Katie’s family tree? How does Mary fit in, and why hasn’t she been around before? Mum is hiding plenty of secrets, but Katie has a secret, too. Three generations of red-headed women confront past and present with confusion, clarity, and an astonishing amount of heart. Don’t miss this top-notch storytelling about letting go and learning to honor your own, true self. (YA)
A wonderful book, THE PASSION OF DOLSSA, by Julie Berry (All the Truth That’s in Me), is historical fiction with a distinct magical touch. In 1241, a young noblewoman named Dolssa shares visions of Christ, her beloved. The Catholic Church arrests her for heresy, but she escapes before the burning. Botille, peasant from a small seaside town, finds Dolssa and saves her from the men who pursue her. Botille brings Dolssa to the tavern she runs with her two sisters, where they desperately try to keep Dolssa a secret. All plans fail when Dolssa shows an ability to heal the sick, and a friar obsessed with finding her appears. The writing is absolutely mesmerizing in this smart, literary tale.