New Realistic Fiction for Kids
Reading Level: Grades 3-6
Henrietta Hornbuckle is a clown in Filbert's Traveling Clown Circus, and has been her whole life. Used to the travelling life, loving to watch the world pass her by as she tumbles and exaggerates movements and brings cheer and laughter to each town the circus visits. To Henrietta, circus life is a fluid, dynamic constant in her life. Then suddenly everything changes - Henrietta learns that the circus is in danger of closing, financial problems having finally become insurmountable. Furthermore, her mother, Hortense, wants to reconnect with her estranged sister Carlotta - a woman with an enormous house (the first Henrietta had ever entered) and a butler - a lavish, expansive lifestyle absurdly foreign to the young clown. Then the unthinkable happens, and Henrietta's jolly life is thrust away from everything she loves.
Reading Level: Grades 7+
Life on a reservation isn't great to begin with, but when Arnold (Junior) sees his mother's name written in his geometry textbook, it's the last straw. He flings the book angrily across the classroom... hitting the teacher square in the face.
Realizing that as long as he stayed on the reservation, he was doomed to live a depressing, boring reservation life with no opportunities, Arnold tells his parents he is going to transfer schools - to the all-white, all-rich high school twenty-two miles away.
And so it begins.
Cleverly written, amusingly illustrated, and with wholly rounded characters, Alexie's first young adult novel is deserving of its high praises.