by Erin Entrada Kelly
Grades 4 & up
This story of four sixth graders is intertwined on the first day of summer. Virgil hates that his parents call him Turtle, even if he is very quiet. He is going to see his friend Kaori to get help in talking to a girl at school that he wants to be friends with. That girl is Valencia, who is mostly deaf. A combination of lip-reading and hearing aids help her get by, but not everybody looks at her 100% of the time that they are talking, which makes it tough. She is also going to Kaori, to get some help with a reoccurring nightmare. Add in the neighborhood bully who targets both Virgil and Valencia and you have a recipe for disaster one morning in the woods. None of the four realize the impact that they have on each other, or the strength they have when they work together. Recommended for grades 4 & up.