A New York Times Bestseller
An Amazon Best Book of the Year 2013
A Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten Book BEA Buzz Book 2013
A Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2014–2015 Master List
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
An E.B. White Read Aloud Honor Book
A Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee
A National Public Radio Best Book of the Year
This is not a book that is easy to describe. It’s about Willow Chance, a 12-year old who is intellectually gifted, loves to count by 7s, diagnose diseases, and loves plants and nature. She has trouble making friends and talking to anyone other than her parents. She’s adopted and she’s a little different. When her parents are suddenly killed in a terrible car crash, Willow finds herself in need of a home.
This book seems like it might be sad and full of tragedy, and it is, but it isn’t really. It’s about unlikely friendships, surrogate families, and helping one another.
This is a book “about finding families and finding yourself” says author Holly Goldberg Sloan. It’s a book about belonging. It is heartbreaking, and it is beautiful.
Here’s a link to the author talking about the book: Click here
Teachers should include this book in a classroom collection for students to read independently or to be read aloud to the class. The book includes a character who most likely has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) although it is never named, and by exposing students to characters who are likeable, intelligent, and interesting who also have conditions like OCD, it helps to make those conditions seem ordinary.
Willow states, “In my opinion it’s not really a great idea to see people as one thing. Every person has lots of ingredients to make them into what is always a one-of-a kind creation.”
**Correlates to Common Core Standard Reading Literature: Key Ideas and Details C.C.S.S.E.L.A. Literacy. R. L. 4.1, 4.2, 4.3; R. L. 5.1, 5.2, 5.4; R.L. 6.1, 6.2; R.L. 7.1, 7.2.Link to 6-week unit plan from Penguin Books: Click here
Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 and up
Lexile Measure: 770
Paperback: 400 pages
Dewey Decimal: FIC or 813.6