Extra tween reads on grief and loss

Hello everyone, this extra post for today will feature a couple of titles for you to check out. I find that tweens seem to need to read at least three or four titles to explore a topic. See what you think of these…

cover image of large glass jar. image behind looks like Arctic Ocean with icebergs and narwhal propping out of water at bottom. blue sky behind. writing across jar reads Waiting for Unicorns.
An engaging read

Title: Waiting for unicorns 

Author: Beth Hatula

Genre: Fiction – contemporary

Publication details: Philomel Books; NY, 2015

What this book is about: Twelve-year-old Talia McQuin keeps hidden a jar of wishes, a tradition of hoping and dreaming she began with her mother before her recent death. But when Talia’s whale-researcher father drags her to the Arctic for the summer and leaves on an expedition shortly after their arrival, not even her jar of wishes can offer Talia the comfort it once did.  Talia doubts she will ever begin to heal in this completely foreign place. That is until Sura, the Inuit woman whom Talia must live with, introduces her to the tale of the unicorn of the sea – the only animal believed to have the power to grant wishes. Talia now wonders if this frozen landscape and Inuit culture might have more to offer. And maybe there’s more to her own story, too. A rich and poignant novel about opening up to people and moving forward with life, Waiting for unicorns celebrates the power of discovering hope and second chances in the unlikeliest of places.

My review: A beautifully written debut novel!! I remember crying so much as I read this story!!  The characters of Talia, Sura and Simon were relatable and I found myself feeling as if I was there with them. Beth Hatula’s descriptions of the frozen landscape of the Arctic region is breathtaking and I loved the chapters that include the wildlife of the region. What struck me the most was the way the author deftly portrayed young Talia’s grief on losing her mother and how her father was coping too. A really good read on dealing with the loss of a parent.

My rating: 4½ ⭐

Additional notes: This title was nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award in 2017. 

cover image in yellow background. large snowglobe in middle with red base. inside snowglobe is suitcase. blue letters across top reads The Someday Suitcase. white letters along bottom reads Corey Ann Haydu.
An intriguing read

Title: The someday suitcase

Author: Corey Ann Haydu

Genre: Fiction – contemporary

Publication details: Katherine Tegen Books; NY, 2017

What this book is about: Clover and Danny are the kind of best friends who make each other better: Clover makes lists, and Danny makes fun. Clover is thoughtful and quiet and loves science. They’re so important to each other that Clover believes they’re symbiotic: her favourite science word, which describes two beings who can’t function without the other. But then Danny comes down with a mysterious illness, and the doctors can’t figure it out. So Clover decides to take matters into her own hands by making lists – lists of Danny’s symptoms, his good days, his bad days, and his moods. As the evidence piles up, one thing becomes clear: Danny is only better when Clover is around. When they’re separated, he’s in danger. Clover knows they need to find a cure – together. Will science be able to save Danny, or is this the one time when magic can overcome the unthinkable? 

My review: This story for me was quite sad and heartbreaking. Similar to Haydu’s Rules for stealing stars, this title has elements of magic tied in with the real life concept of dying. The characters of Clover and Danny are an amazing pair of tweens. I really liked the dialogue and storyline even if I was crying into the pages!! We can learn quite a bit on how the power of love can overcome many things in life. A really good read!! 

My rating: 4 ⭐

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