The True Gift: A Christmas Story
by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Brian Floca
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2009
While on their annual Christmas visit to their grandparent’s farm, Liam connects with this grandparent’s white cow. Liam senses the cow is lonely since his buddy, a burro, returned to his family. Sensitive to the animal’s needs, he decides to find a friend for White Cow for Christmas. He posts “Friend for White Cow for Christmas” posters around town. He learns of a brown calf, but it costs $200. Liam and Lily pool their Christmas money, but are still short. Find out what Liam sacrifices and how he saves the brown calf’s life.
A page-turning story for the holidays by Newbery Award winning author, Patricia MacLachlan.
Read more reviews on Amazon.
Quiet hero, animals, 9-12
When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt
by Molly Bang
The Blue Sky Press, 2015
A story for those who see the world differently and are sensitive to others who don’t.
Sophie loves her tree and when her teacher asks her to paint its picture, she is ever so excited to do so. She visits the tree and studies its every feature. The next day she paints the trunk of her tree gray, the color it is, but the color makes her sad. That’s not how she feels about her tree. She paints the trunk blue and she feels happy. She paints the sky orange and makes her own color for the leaves. One classmate declares she did it wrong—a tree isn’t blue, and the sky isn’t orange. Sophie feels hurt. The teacher asks Sophie to talk about her picture. Sophie says the color blue makes her feel good and strong. Her teacher agrees, the color makes her feel good and strong, too. Each classmates looks at their classmate’s picture to find the special parts of each. Feeling about her picture and her day, she affirms, “…she loves just being Sophie.”
An affirming book, reinforcing each child’s uniqueness and acceptance of others different from ourselves.
Read more reviews on Amazon.
Katherine Tegen Books, 2015
I couldn’t put it down once I started and I was crying by the end. Another wonderful read by Newbery-award-winning author Patricia MacLachlan.
Readers peek into the relationship 10-year old Jake has with his grandfather, Billy. They have a special relationship and visit the special places on the farm, including the remains of an old sod house his grandfather lived in many years before. His grandfather says they have kindred souls, something Jake doesn’t quite understand in the beginning. His grandfather asks Jake to build him a sod house; Jake doesn’t want to. Then one day a dog appears and Grandfather knows it has come for him and claims it. Soon, Grandfather takes sick and is eventually taken to the hospital. The dog bolts to follow the ambulance taking Grandfather. Grandfather asks Jake to sleep with the dog until he returns. The doctor gives the family special permission to allow the dog into the hospital. The family seems to know Grandfather’s time may be coming soon, but never say that. Instead, they build him his sod house. Grandfather returns to enjoy his house and Jake learns that he and grandpa do have kindred souls.
A touching story I finished in one read. Kindred Souls is a beautiful book about a quiet boy dealing with the death of his grandfather, his kindred soul.
Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.
9-12, quiet hero, dog, death/etc
The Thunder Egg
by Tim J. Myers, illustrated by Winfield Coleman
Wisdom Tales, 2015
A tale of “the girl who cared for the Thunderbird’s child—and saved her people.”
A young Cheyenne girl, sensitive to her environment, finds a Thunder Egg. She is led to care for the egg, even when other children ridicule her. Her grandma comforts her, saying “Someday you’ll find your power, and with it the good you can do in the world.” In the middle of a drought, each tribe member is asked to make sacrifices. The girl chooses to sacrifice her egg, her most valuable possession. She leaves it near a tree where lightning has struck before. Lightning strikes it, breaking it open. In thanks for her caring for the Thunder Egg, the Thunderbird brings rain to the land.
A touching story of a sensitive girl’s resolve.
See more reviews and order on Amazon.
by Hanmin Kim
Holiday House, 2015
Originally published in Korea
Written in a folk tale voice, readers discover a new hero, the quiet Tapir.
A long time ago jungle animals loved to be the loudest. The elephant, with his Boom-Boom!, competed with the rhinoceros’ Bam-Bam!, and the ape’s Hoo-Haa-Hoo-Haa! One animal never tried to complete, the quiet Tapir. The tapir “tiptoed about the jungle ever so softly.” She avoided stepping on flowers, ants and was careful not to disturb the resting crocodiles. One day a leopard attacked the tapir—but because the leopard was so loud, hunters shot their guns at him. Terrified and paralyzed with fear, the leopard couldn’t move. Tapir said she could help and showed him how to tiptoe softly, hush, hush. They escaped! Soon the other animals learned of being quiet and each tried to be the quietest of all. Thinking the animals gone, the hunters left.
Originally published in Korea, the pen and ink drawings with splashes of color have the appearance of Korean landscapes. Both words and illustrations are sparse, gentle and a delight to read.
Read more reviews and purchase at Amazon.