Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 47

Counting by 7s

By: Holly Goldberg Sloan

Sewing uniqueness and loss- two major themes- together by using human compassion as the thread is done in this wonderful novel written by Holly Goldberg Sloan. This novel starts off right in the thick of the plot when Willow, our main character, finds out both of her parents have died in a car crash. To add to the conflict, Willow is a genius who doesn’t fit in, well, anywhere. Willow has found her way in life by developing odd hobbies, but then engaging in them fully. She is an avid gardener who also enjoys studying illnesses. She self calms by counting to the number seven.

Willow is introduced to a strange cast of people who end up looking out for her and becoming a family. It takes awhile for Willow to realize the true meaning of family- a group who will protect, nurture, and be there for you unconditionally. Throughout this intense book Willow also comes to the realization that she can help these people too, which gives her a purpose once again, despite the tragic events that have happened to her.

With a slight touch of humor, but mostly an enthusiasm for the principles of being kind, Counting by 7’s is a book that will leave you wanting to read, “Just one more chapter.” The string of characters are memorable, yet similar to the people that you run across every day. This is a perfect book for the upper elementary or middle school crowd.

The Fantastic Flying Books

of Mr. Morris Lessmore

By: William Joyce

In a style like the movie Inception, the picture book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is an incredible read for all ages. The story goes many layers in depth, which makes it the perfect read for all age groups. Children and adults could read this book every year and see it in a different light each time. Starting out by sharing his love for words, Mr. Lessmore delves into a relationship with books- a relationship that will sustain his entire life. The reader isn’t aware of the story within a story, until the end, when the unexpected twist unfolds.

This story beautifully shares the strong connection between a reader and his or her books. Life is a story, one that is created by learning through the life experiences of characters from books. Mr. Lessmore is faced with joy and hope, but also sorrow and challenges; all attributes that readers of all ages are faced with. And just like this book begins, it also ends, with the opening of a book.

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Book Reviews by Emily Keifer