Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Reads for Sensitive Souls

Although they're in the minority in my library, there are some children who don't want "scary" or "funny" books. They want deep, soul-searching, rip-your-heart-out reads. Here are three that will reach their emotional level.

In the comments: are you are fan of a good cry? What books are on your list for when you're in "one of those moods"?

Bird Lake Moon, by Kevin Henkes
Two boys vacation at the same lake during a summer that is difficult for each of them for different reasons. Mitch is dealing with the reality of his parents' divorce. Spenser is dealing with the reality that his parents are still haunted by his brother's death ten years ago. The two meet as neighbors at Bird Lake, but secrets between them make for an uneasy relationship. Each boy narrates alternating chapters, so we have access into their thoughts and understand them better than they understand themselves. 
A quiet contemplative read for grades 4+ 

Gemini Summer, by Iain Lawrence
What is it about stories of boys and their dogs? They get me every time! This story is about a boy who is feeling lost after the death of his older brother. We have a chance to meet the older brother, an "All-American" teenage obsessed with space during the 1960's, and when he dies we feel the boy's grief keenly. Then a stray dog who seems to channel the departed brother's soul comes along, and the boy pours all of his love into the dog. But, when "Rocket" gets into some trouble, the boy goes to extremes to save him. Tear-jerker alert!
A historical fiction novel good for grades 5+ 

Lenny's Space, by Kate Banks
I loved this funny-weepy read about Lenny, a boy who's bouncing off the walls at school and is desperate to connect with someone. A school counselor gains his trust, but it's a new friend with a terminal illness who shows Lenny how to take a risk to experience true feelings. The best part of this novel is Lenny's voice, his fresh ideas (he wants to be an inventor), and his ability to see the humor in every little thing around him (until he can't).
Recommended for grades 5+

Read more book talks at Book Talk Tuesday via the Lemme Library


  1. I really like your site.

  2. I have just recently read quite a number of mystery-themed novels (popular titles) which I find to be unappealing - so yes I am in the search for soul-enriching titles - and your recommendations came at that exact perfect time. Would soon be starting Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse - and trying to finish David Almond's My Name is Mina - also absolutely riveting titles.

  3. Just finished Junonia by Henkes - Beautiful, soulful writing. He must be a truly sensitive soul.
    I remember his Olive's Ocean having that same feel too.
    Have not read Bird, Lake, Moon yet though.

  4. I recently did an author interview with Kate Banks, whose a real favourite of mine, and she recommended me to read Lenny, as I had so loved her book Dillon Dillon, so thanks for this review.