"There were a few things I noticed about the surfboarding cat." Definitely one of the best opening lines for a book! Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (Lexile: 540; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) starts in just this way. Jackson is a boy who is all about facts. Surfboarding cats definitely don't fit with facts. So, who is Crenshaw? And why is it that Jackson seems to be the only one who can see him?
Jackson's family is having money troubles, and Jackson feels as though he can't help out because his parents aren't giving him all of the facts. He wants to trust that they can take care of everything for him, but past experiences make him unsure, and he's still a kid, so he isn't sure how to ask them to treat him more grown-up. This is a beautiful story about growing up, understanding, family, friendship, and hardships. All of could use a little Crenshaw in our lives. (256 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.