iRead features the best ebooks and eaudiobooks for children and teens curated by the Children's Room and Teen Center staff.
Whether it's true blue friends or even a new friend, friendships deeply impact our lives. They teach us about the world and about ourselves. Sometimes we're not ready to learn the lesson until that friend is gone.
Discover your own fast friends in this week's iRead picks featuring two middle grade novels and one teen title.
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
available as an ebook and eaudiobook through Overdrive
“If the worst thing in the world happened, would I help protect someone else? Would I let myself be a harbor for someone who needs it?” Six middle schoolers from varying backgrounds who learn differently. A room to talk. A voice recorder. Lives changed.
Life is tough for Haley McGrath – she’s 11 – her mom is dead and her father is in prison. She lives in Brooklyn with her uncle, who has raised her for most of her life. School is a great escape – she’s in a small class with only six other students when suddenly their teacher sends the class to the ARRT (A Room to Talk) room every Friday afternoon. The kids are supposed to sit in a circle and just talk. But they’re scared - they don’t know each other very well and they don’t know what to say or how to treat each other. With the help of a voice recorder that Haley’s uncle buys her, she begins recording her classmates talking about their lives. They’ve all got their own troubles and worries and find a way to share them with each other through Haley’s recordings, making their bond strong over time. Telling each other the things they don’t want to think about, they teach each other to heal through the recorder – they learn to be a harbor in a storm for someone else. This helps Haley and the others see that “when you tell stories, it’s like letting all the scared out inside of you. It’s like you help stuff make sense.”
Woodson’s book is a touching coming of age story that has a particular resonance to recent events.
Recommended by Jenny Dilworth | Children's Room Librarian
Here in the Real World by Sarah Pennypacker
available as an eaudiobook through Overdrive
For the first time in years, 11 year-old Ware looks forward to a quiet summer break with his grandmother. Things take a turn for the worse when his beloved grandmother loses her balance and shatters her hip. This means another summer spent at the over-crowded and dilapidated Rec Center. His parents—along with camp counselors—encourage him to “join in” with the other kids, but Ware isn’t that kind of kid. He would rather stand on the outskirts and daydream.
One day, Ware climbs over the wall of the Rec Center and discovers a broken-down church surrounded by papaya trees. Sitting among the trees planting a garden is Jolene, a bold 11 year-old girl with secrets of her own. Ware’s daydreaming helps him to reimagine the old building—and with the help of a new friend— maybe he can also “reimagine” himself.
Recommended by Emily Johansson | Children's Room Reading Specialist
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
available as an ebook through Overdrive
Caitlin is left reeling from the loss of her best friend, Ingrid, due to suicide at the end of their sophomore year. After spending the summer traveling with her mom, Caitlin finds her friend's journal and uses it as a way to understand Ingrid's perspective on life, cope with her passing, and feel like she still has the opportunity to make new memories as Caitlin goes through her junior year and learns how to live without her.
Recommended by Kenyanah Bryant | Teen Center Associate
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