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Books About Finding Family

The Elephant's Girl

The Elephant's Girl By Celesta Rimington

A magical adventure about a girl with a mysterious connection with the elephant who saved her life, for fans of Katherine Applegate and Jennifer Holm.

An elephant never forgets, but Lexington Willow can't remember what happened before a tornado swept her away when she was a toddler. All she knows is that it landed her near an enclosure in a Nebraska zoo; and there an elephant named Nyah protected her from the storm. With no trace of her birth family, Lex grew up at the zoo with Nyah and her elephant family; her foster father, Roger; her best friend, Fisher; and the wind whispering in her ear.

Now that she's twelve, Lex is finally old enough to help with the elephants. But during their first training session, Nyah sends her a telepathic image of the woods outside the zoo. Despite the wind's protests, Lex decides to investigate Nyah's message and gets wrapped up in an adventure involving ghosts, lost treasure, and a puzzle that might be the key to finding her family. As she hunts for answers, Lex must summon the courage to leave the secure borders of her zoo to discover who she really is--and why the tornado brought her here all those years ago.

Orphan Eleven

Orphan Eleven By Gennifer Choldenko

An engaging adventure from a Newbery Honor-winning storyteller for readers who love the circus, and anyone who has dreamed of finding the perfect home.

Four orphans have escaped from the Home for Friendless Children. One is Lucy, who used to talk and sing. No one knows why she doesn't speak anymore; silence is her protection.

The orphans find work and new friends at a traveling circus. Lucy loves caring for the elephants, but she must be able to speak to them, and to warn others of danger. If Lucy doesn't find her voice, she'll be left behind when the circus goes on the rails. Meanwhile, people are searching for Lucy, and her puzzling past is about to catch up with her.

This lively, heartwarming novel by the award-winning author of the Tales from Alcatraz series is full of marvels and surprises.

Planet Earth Is Blue

Planet Earth Is Blue By Nicole Panteleakos

"Tender and illuminating. A beautiful debut." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me

A heartrending and hopeful story about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the Cosmos, Mockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.


Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger--it's the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.

While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can't express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova's new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she's counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she'll see Bridget again. Because as Bridget said, "No matter what, I'll be there. I promise."

How to Make Friends with the Dark

How to Make Friends with the Dark By Kathleen Glasgow

"A rare and powerful novel." --Karen M. McManus, New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret

From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces comes a novel about love and loss and learning how to continue when it feels like you're surrounded by darkness.


Tiger's life changed with a simple phone call. Her mother has died. That's when darkness descended on her otherwise average life.

Tiger's mother never talked about her father, and with no grandparents or aunts or uncles, her world is packed into a suitcase and moved to a foster home. And another. And another. Until hope surfaces in the shape of . . . a sister?

Sometimes family comes in forms you don't recognize. But can Tiger learn to make friends with the darkness before it swallows her whole?

"Stunning and beautifully written."-HelloGiggles

"Breathtaking and heartbreaking, and I loved it with all my heart." --Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe

What I Carry

What I Carry By Jennifer Longo

"A deeply touching story about survival, hope, and love." --Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

For readers of Robin Benway's Far from the Tree, a powerful and heartwarming look at a teen girl about to age out of the foster care system.


Growing up in foster care, Muir has lived in many houses. And if she's learned one thing, it is to Pack. Light. Carry only what fits in a suitcase.

Toothbrush? Yes. Socks? Yes. Emotional attachment to friends? foster families? a boyfriend? Nope! There's no room for any additional baggage.

Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she's free. One year to avoid anything--or anyone--that could get in her way.

Then she meets Francine. And Kira. And Sean.

And everything changes.

Summer Creative Writing Activities

Books and Resources to Spark Creative Writing in the Classroom or at Home this Summer

Young Adult Writing Activities

Young Adult novels show students how to ‘write like this.’ In this guide, we provide a variety of writing lessons, discussion questions, and suggestions of incredible young adult novels for writers to read and learn from for their own stories and writing.

Middle School Writing Activities

In these activities, students will focus on details through found art, wordless picture books, graphic novels, and nonfiction titles to explore imaginative writing. These activities can be done at home or used by teachers managing classes online to practice creative writing.

Elementary Writing Activities

Reading and writing go hand in hand. From learning letters to using sight words in a story, here are writing activities for even the youngest readers!