The 2018 Newbery Award Winner, Hello, Universe (Lexile: 690; Interest Level: Grades 5-8) by Erin Entrada Kelly, is a beautiful book told from the points of view of 4 different characters: Virgil, Valencia, Kaori, and Chet. Summer vacation has just started, and each person is trying to discover their summer plan. Virgil feels alone in his family of people who "always talk with exclamation points." Valencia yearns for adventure but feels smothered by her mother. Chet bullies others because he feels insecure about himself. Kaori searches for answers in the Universe to make order from coincidences. All four cross paths (literally) in the neighborhood woods.
Join Virgil on his quest to find the courage to speak to Valencia. He begins by seeking out the psychic services of his friend Kaori. Valencia grabs Kaori's business card in the supermarket and seeks her help to stop her nightmares. Kaori uses her connections to the Universe to help them both. Chet seeks adventure in the woods to prove he is as good and brave as he thinks, even if he has to put others down to do so. And when Virgil goes missing for the day, the Universe must intervene.
The four intertwining tales make for an engaging read in which the reader will grow to care about the characters, even Chet. I encourage all students to explore this engaging story about one afternoon in summer. (313 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.