What would you do if you woke up in a borrowed tent, 2
states from home, and discovered that your mom had left you there? That is exactly the situation in which Jack finds himself in Small As An Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (Lexile: 790; Interest Level: Grades 3-7). At first Jack thinks his mom had just gone searching for a new (better) campsite, but after she has been gone for a day, he realizes that he needs a plan to fend for himself. He can't tell anyone, or the government would take him away from his mother, so, he has to figure out how to ask for help without telling anyone what is really wrong. He worries about his mother, but he also worries about himself, especially as he starts having to explain why he isn't in school as he tries to make his way home.
Jack's favorite animal is the elephant, and one of the first things he does on his adventure is steal a small, plastic elephant that keeps him company along his journey. Underlying the story all the way through is also a sense of worry about "the elephant in the room" as the saying goes. A great realistic adventure that makes you want to cry for Jack, except you are too busy rooting for him! 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominee (275 pages)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.