Middle School can be a little rough for anyone, but for Ross, it’s especially rough. He’s just been diagnosed with cancer of his eye! So not only does he have to go for radiation treatments, he also has to go to school wearing an eye patch (like a pirate!), and he has to keep putting some sort of eye “goop” on his eye all through the day at school. It can’t get much worse than this, right?
But it does. His hair begins to fall out, and there’s a chance he may lose his sight in that eye. 7th Grade would be a completely miserable year if it weren’t for his band.
Oh, yeah! His band! That’s a real high point! Will it be enough to get him to get through the school year?
Author Rob Harrell actually lived this life and then wrote a book about it for us. Read to see how Ross’s school year goes.
The author describes how her feelings overwhelm her, especially when seeing the world, or people, or animals in pain. “Everywhere she looked there were beautiful things. But there were sad things too. She felt so much, sometimes her feelings overwhelmed her.” So she made herself a thick-skinned rhino-suit, where she lived in to hide her pain.
She came to realize that having a “thick skin”, also kept out the happy things, as well. “When she was in the rhino suit, she also couldn’t feel the breeze on her skin, smell the flowers, or hear the birds singing.” She realized that not all people have a special gift of being sensitive to others when they are hurting, and she could use her feelings to actually do something to help the world around her. Being a “deeply feeling person is a wonderful thing to be.”
Do you like ghost stories? How about ghost stories that aren’t too scary? Well, author Lindsay Currie has a great one for you! (And it even takes place in Chicago!)
Claire’s dad gives ghost tours around the city. (There are really people who do that; I’ve gone!) Claire hates going on his tours – they creep her out. But one night, he really needs her help, so she has to go.
Riding in his bus, visiting cemeteries and haunted buildings, all is going pretty well–that is until one of the ghosts decides to follow Claire home! Now the real “fun” begins!
A wonderful thing falls from the sky on a Thursday. The insects debate what exactly this wonder could be. While they are busy deciding, the clever spider takes the wonder for his own. For him, the wonder is more than a mysterious beauty; it is an opportunity for wealth. Fueled by greed he gains power– until finally, it pushes everyone away.
This morality tale is beautifully illustrated in mostly black and white with brilliant pops of color. The whimsical drawings are so expertly crafted that they look 3D. Text does not crowd the page which allows the illustrations to truly shine. Younger children will appreciate the pictures. Older children will be able to discuss the lessons about the adversarial relationship between avarice and friendship.
Harmony Music Camp is a big deal. You have to apply and be accepted for camp, and each week you audition for your seat in the band.
This is Andi’s first year at camp, and it kind of feels like her aunt and uncle are trying to get rid of her for the summer. Her mother died ten months ago and she hasn’t been able to adjust to life with her aunt and uncle or enjoy the things she used to, like playing the trumpet.
Zora has been going for many years and has many friends, but because she and Andi are black, people seem to think they should be best friends. And at first, they are definitely not. Andi wears all black and mostly keeps to herself. Zora is bubbly and colorful and friends with everyone. But behind it all, Zora feels all this anxiety to be the best and make her parents happy. And as Andi and Zora get to know one another, they grow closer. Each helps the other be truer to herself and happier.
If you couldn’t already tell, this book deals with some difficult subjects: death of a parent and anxiety among them, but also self-harm. However, this is also the story of first love and a first kiss.