I decided that Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes (Lexile: 680; Interest Level: Grades 3-6) might be a good book to read while I sat on the beach in Jamaica, so this is the first one I pulled out there. We mostly know Kevin Henkes for his picture books like Chrysanthemum and Caldecott winner Kitten's First Full Moon, but this Newbery Honor book shows that he is a very versatile author!
Olive Barstow thought Martha Boyle was probably the nicest girl in her whole entire class. However, Martha never really knew Olive thought that. In fact, Martha didn't really know Olive at all. No one really seemed to know her. She was one of those girls who just sort of faded into the background. But when Olive's mother brought Martha a page from Olive's journal, Martha began to think about a whole lot of things differently--especially about what happened to Olive.
When Martha's family travels to visit her grandmother at the ocean for vacation, she is caught up in a lot of thoughts about what is going on with her family and what she thinks about the boys who live down the road from her grandmother, but she also spends a lot of time thinking about Olive. This is a wonderful story about growing up and learning what it means to make and keep friends, and how to decide what to do about those friends, even if you don't see them often and they happen to be boys. I think many 4th and 5th graders, in particular, may feel like Martha sometimes, and that makes this book a good one to check out. (224 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.