Blogger Pamela Groseclose

Books for Tweens During Uncertain Times

More than ever, librarians are offering dynamic programming from their homes. Cooking, craft programs, and book talks are filling up Youtube! All of these things as needed, but do not forget to include book lists to your lineup. I know this might seem self-explanatory, but in a rush for programming, it is hard to stop and remember how much books offer us and tweens! 

Books help kids to explore issues, develop empathy, and reduce stress. 

Next Steps 

As summer approaches, we are all scrambling to find new ways to offer programming. One thing my library has found success doing is setting out a take-home craft kit that we set outside. These craft kits go very quickly! Consider offering a take-home craft that tweens can take home & provide paper booklists that tweens can grab and go in case they do not have internet access, or perhaps they need a break from the screen! One thing I am noticing most that tweens are requesting books that center on hope and community. Here is a quick list of some of my top recommendations for tweens during the Covid19 Crisis. 

Books for Uncertain Times 

24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling by Dusti Bowling

Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, the town bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, comes to his rescue—but in return, she has to give Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to repurchase it, Gus agrees to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine, joined by his old friends Jessie Navarro and Matthew Dufort, and Rossi herself. As they hunt for treasure, narrowly surviving everything from cave-ins to mountain lions, they bond over shared stories of how hard life in Nowhere is—and they realize this adventure may be their way out.

This book is filled with humor and heart with a story packed full of adventure and emphasized empathy to create an uplifting and heartfelt novel. Perfect for a family read-aloud! 

*Note: The description provided is based on Goodreads*

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Geminhart

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan GemeinhartFor five years Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, crisscrossing the nation. Five years is also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.

Coyote has not been home in all that time. Still, when she learns the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished, she decides she must go back! The park is where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box. Coyote devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days without him realizing it.

Along the way, Coyote and her dad pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Throughout the thousands of mile journey, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the most challenging journey of all, but that with friends by her side, she might find the closure she desperately seeks. 

Both Quirky and heartfelt, this story will help children understand that grieving is okay and that family can be anything you make it.  

*Note: Book description provided is based on Goodreads.*

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by  Janae Marks Zoe Washington is not sure what to write. What does a girl say to a father she has never met and has not heard from for twelve years? More importantly, why is he writing her from jail after committing a troubling crime? A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus, her father, really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. 

This book tackles a tough subject with love, humor, and hope. Recommend for tweens or as a family read-aloud. 

Note: Book description is based on Goodreads 

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Song for a whale by Lynne KellyFrom fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

The book Song for a Whale seamlessly tackles the theme of isolation, family, and grief. A beautiful and hopeful novel that your tween will want to read over and over again. 

Note: Book description is based on  Goodreads

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone 

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma:

* Grab a Suitcase: Prepacked from the big spring break trip that got CANCELLED.

* Fasten Your Seatbelt: G’ma’s never conventional, so this trip won’t be either.

* Use the Green Book: G’ma’s most treasured possession. It holds history, memories, and most important, the way home.

What Not to Bring:

* A Cell Phone: Avoid contact with Dad at all costs. Even when G’ma starts acting stranger than usual.

Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem–his G’ma included.

Book description provided by Goodreads

Another must-read book from the author, Nic Stone, this book offers a theme of the humanity of our heroes, family, and intergenerational relationships. It provides an approachable way for kids to begin to understand the Civil Rights movement that will be a great conversation starter for families. 

My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

My Life as a Potato by Arianne CostnerBen Hardy believes he’s cursed by potatoes. And now he’s moved to Idaho, where the school’s mascot is Steve the Spud! Yeah, this cannot be good.

After accidentally causing the mascot to sprain an ankle, Ben is sentenced to Spud duty for the final basketball games of the year. But if the other kids know he’s the Spud, his plans for popularity are likely to be a big dud! Ben doesn’t want to let the team down, so he lies to his friends to keep it a secret. No one will know it’s him under the potato suit, right?

In this uncertain time, everyone needs a little laugh and some wholesome friendships. This novel delivers both! I am excited to read Arianne Costner’s future works. 

Note: Book description is based on Goodreads

 Did I miss any? 

I hope everyone is staying healthy and well in this extremtly difficult  time. 

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