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Lacey Recommends Books for Connecting

The theme of the September/October issue of New Moon Girls is “Our Tribe: Connecting Us All,” and this month’s recommendations feature books that just might help YOU feel more connected — whether to the characters in a story, or to the big, wide world!

Flor loves everything about her life working for her family’s petting zoo in a traveling carnival — until she learns that the carnival’s manager wants to replace the zoo with a music show. Flor would do anything to stop the band from pushing her family out of the carnival … until she forges an unlikely friendship with lead singer Miranda in “Flor and Miranda Steal the Show” by Jennifer Torres.12-year-old Crow has always felt she belongs with Osh, the man who raised her when he found her washed up upon his shore, her cat Mouse, and her neighbor Miss Maggie. But when she sees a mysterious fire across the water, it ignites questions about her own past. Where did she come from? Who would be desperate enough to set a newborn adrift in the sea? In “Beyond the Bright Sea” by Lauren Wolk, Crow searches for lost pirate treasure, information about an abandoned leper colony, and most of all, answers to the questions about who she really is.Mayka hasn’t left her mountain since a stonemaker carved her years ago. Forever 12-years-old, the stories carved into her stone are what keep her alive. But now the stone marks on her and her family are beginning to fade, and if she wants to save those who mean the most to her, she must set out to find someone who can recarve them in “The Stone Girl’s Story” by Sarah Beth Durst.

If you’ve ever loved a pet or another animal, you know that we aren’t just connected to other people. In “Elephant Secret” by Erik Walters, 13-year-old Samantha knows it, too. Raised in an elephant sanctuary, she forms a special bond with an extra-hairy baby elephant . . . and discovers a secret plot that could destroy the animal family she and her dad hold dear.

In “Monster Mayhem” by Christopher Eliopoulos, Zoe doesn’t really fit in with kids her own age … but she can forget her loneliness by following her passion for classic monster movies and building robots. Then one day, she puts on a mysterious ring, and the next thing she knows, a monster buddy from her favorite movies is there! But the ring hasn’t just unleashed the GOOD monsters. Now Zoe needs to find some friends, and fast, to help her save the city!

12-year-old Imogene has a pretty good life hanging out with her parents and lots of friends working the renaissance faire in “All’s Faire in Middle School” by Victoria Jamieson. But when Imogene starts public school for the first time after being homeschooled, she falls in with a group of “queen bee” girls, and life suddenly looks a lot different. Can she still find a way to be the hero of her own story? If you enjoy All’s Faire, make sure to check out Jamieson’s other graphic novel, “Roller Girl,” too.

You know how it feels to have that one special friend that can make the whole world seem a little brighter? Millie has found such a friend in Ozy — both are mischievous middle-school foxes living in Seattle. Millie wants to write the great American novel, while Ozy keeps her grounded with ancient wisdom from his adoptive father, a red dragon. Join them on their adventures in “Ozy and Millie” by Dana Simpson, author of the “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” series.

 

Real Life

Lots of girls find a sense of connection with their teammates in sports or other clubs. If that’s true for you, check out the “Smart Girls’ Guide to Sports & Fitness” from American Girl. It includes advice on talking to coaches and parents, playing with heart, and team-building activities to keep your “tribe” going strong!

Lavinia Warren never grew more than three feet tall — but that doesn’t mean she didn’t find a place where she could fit in. She didn’t let her height stop her from becoming a beloved teacher, world traveler, entertainer, and friend to many. When she joined P.T. Barnum’s show, she met the man who would become her husband, Tom Thumb. Their wedding reception at the White House hosted by Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln was just the beginning of their real-life adventures. You can read all about them in “The Big, Bold Adventruous Life of Lavinia Warren” by Elizabeth Raum.

If a feeling of connection makes you want to do something for the world, you have a lot in common with the kids in “Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Overcoming Adversity Around the World” by Garth Sundem. For example, the children of Koh Panyee, who live in a village built on stilts with no place to play soccer, took matters into their own hands and built a floating field! And Soosan Firooz ignored the comments of men in her home country of Afghanistan who called women “not too smart and a little crazy” to become the country’s first female rapper! Even though she receives death threats, she doesn’t stop rapping. “I want to be the voice of women in my country,” she says. These are just a few of the stories in this book that will show you the power of connection throughout all the world.

What about you? What books have helped you feel connected to your tribe — whether that’s your friends, your family, or the whole world? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? What did you think of them? Leave a comment below!