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Slog's Dad

Author: 
David Almond
Illustrator: 
Dave McKean

Reading Level: Grades 6 - 8

When Slog's father dies following a grueling illness involving many amputations, the boy becomes convinced that his dad has returned from the dead. Slog's friend, who tells us this story, is sympathetic to Slog but doubtful. This unconventional story, told partly with mixed-media illustrations, is simultaneously dark but hopeful, as it explores the pain of loss.

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Dave the Potter

Author: 
Laban Carrick Hill

Reading Level: Ages 5-10

Get a simple, powerful glimpse of a skilled artisan creating pottery. This actual artist also happens to be a slave, Dave, who "belongs to Mr. Miles" in the early 1800s. Dave speaks directly to us with some of his words left behind as inscriptions on his work. Poetic text and lush illustrations further bring Dave to life.

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Miles from Ordinary

Author: 
Carol Lynch Williams

Reading Level: Grade 6-8

This book is a creepy blend of realistic fiction and horror. Teenager Lacey lives alone with her mentally ill mother. Despite her situation, she struggles to have a normal life, even managing to get a job at the local library. However, the novel's intentional uncertainty creates a foreboding mood. At times the reader even wonders if the voice guiding Lacey's mother really exists or if it is due to her illness. All becomes clear by the novel's end, when Lacey realizes just how alone she really is.

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