I did always wonder what the COVID-19 pandemic would have been like from the very beginning, even when no one yet knew what it was in Wuhan, China. I only have my experience, watching the progression of the disease through the world before our own world shut down. Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine

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Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin captures the days before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 for four very different children: a girl whose mother travels to New York, a Muslim girl, a boy who lives in New York, and a boy who lives Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Two days before, all four

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Beatrice Nash is an educated, talented, and pleasant woman. But life in 1914 England does not give much credence to those qualities when she has been left orphaned and impoverished at the old maid age of 22 without any marriage prospects. To make matters worse, she must rely on her unfriendly relatives for assistance in finding

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Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson is about two unlikely friends, one 4 and three-quarters years old and the other ninety-two and a half. I loved how this was a story about how friendships evolve and change. I love how the two friends, although very different in age, found things they liked to do together.

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A Friend for Mole by Nancy Armo is about a mole who stumbles out of his hole and feels lonely because he’s afraid of the light, as well as a wolf who got lost from his home in the middle of the night and is afraid of the dark. Since they are afraid of the opposite

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The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron (originally published 1987) is a clever early chapter book about a boy and his younger brother, along with the crazy stories Julian makes up to explain the world around him. When seven-year-old Julian does not know the answer to his three-year-old brother Huey’s questions, he makes up stories! For example, he tells his

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George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl (originally published in 1981) is a book I never got to enjoy as a child, but since I have always loved Roald Dahl ridiculousness, I knew this would be a fun one. In fact, my son was the one who originally checked it out (fresh off of a reread

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Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (1998 Newbery Medal Winner) is a young adult novel in poetry about the difficulties of dust bowl living in the 1930s. A changing industry, magnified by severe drought and the Great Depression, meant that farming in rural Oklahoma was more difficult than ever. But Billie’s difficulties are compounded.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene (Dutton Books, 2014) is both an existential novel about the meaningless of life as well as an sensitive exploration of the importance of friendship in the midst of the seemingly meaningless. Hazel is a 16-year-old girl with cancer, miraculously kept alive by a “miracle” drug that could stop working

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Sometimes a clever and intriguing story line makes a novel great. Sometimes, it is the interaction of a number of interesting characters. And other times, a novel is great because because of the carefully developed setting that gives life to the situations and characters. In One Came Home (January 2013, Knopf Books for Young Readers),

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The Great Gilly Hopkins is not an easy book to read. Gilly is a child in a difficult situation. She is a child without a family, moved through the foster care system. She does not make it easy for her foster parents, because she believes that her mother loves her and needs her. She dreams

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