About the book:
In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.
Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?
Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.
Check out the official book trailer:
Check out the nationwide Crenshaw the Food Drive, here.
My thoughts on the book:
Childhood can be tougher than most adults realize. Teachers see this all the time. The children who have little to no control over what is happening in their lives and must come to school and try and focus on learning. Not always the easiest thing to do and then we wonder where the acting out or anger or attention seeking behaviors come from?!
As an educator, in a school district with a large population of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, I have seen how poverty or financial instability impact students in very real ways. The effects of unemployment or jobs that do not pay a sustainable or living wage reach far beyond what we imagine.
In CRENSHAW, Katherine Applegate introduces readers to Jackson, his little sister, and his parents. Due to a variety of life situations beyond Jackson's control, childhood is far from carefree and easy. When Jackson was younger and the family faced living in their van for a period of time, Crenshaw, a large, imaginary cat came into Jackson's life to help him cope. Though Jackson is older, life is still presenting a lot of challenges for his family and the possibility of living in their van is a again looming over them. And Crenshaw is back. What does it mean?
In a very real and very touching manner, Applegate deals with the issue of homelessness and hunger facing children today. CRENSHAW provides children who live with financial uncertainty with a way of seeing themselves in a book, and hopefully for a means of being able to speak with a caring adult of their own concerns and fears. It also provides teachers with another lens in which to understand the issue of childhood homelessness. Additionally, don't we all need an understanding imaginary friend who shows up just when we need a listening ear or a way to feel secure when all else is uncertain?
Pair CRENSHAW with Yard Sale by Eve Bunting; Illustrated by Lauren Castillo (Candlewick, 2015).
I have been book talking CRENSHAW to teachers for the past few months. I am so excited that it is finally out in the world for everyone to read and I look forward to hearing about students' reactions when they hear CRENSHAW read aloud. Applegate has created another heart-print book that will touch the lives of everyone who reads it.
Pick up a copy of CRENSHAW at your local indie bookstore or public library.
Thank you to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the giveaway. Participants must be 13 years old or older and have a US Mailing address. Complete the rafflecopter below to enter to win: