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November Book Stack: Family 

A Boy Called BAT

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A Boy Called Bat - Elana K Arnold

Bixby Alexander Tam gets unique support from each member of his family: his mother, father, and his always-there-in-the-end sister, Janie. 

Baby skunks are easier than sisters, Bat said. 

“That may be true,” Mom answered. “But there are lots of baby skunks in the world, and you only have one sister.”

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham - Christopher Paul Curits

The heart of this book involves the sibling hijinks and family shenanigans of “the Weird Watsons” in Flint, Michigan, in the family car (the Brown Bomber), and in Birmingham. 

If you asked Momma why you had to do something and she didn’t feel like explaining she just repeated herself. She was chopping onions for spaghetti sauce and I guess the tears made it so she didn’t feel like talking. If you were stupid enough to ask your question again there would be the loudest quiet in the world coming from Momma. If you went totally crazy and asked the question a third time you might as well tie yourself to a tree and say, “Ready, aim, fire!”

Because of Winn-Dixie 

Because of Winn-Dixie - Kate DiCamillo
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Opal Buloni assembles a surrogate family, starting with a stray dog, that includes three eccentric adults and four kids who turn out to be friend material after all, in Naomi, Florida.  

Otis laughed and strummed his guitar, and the flavor of the Littmus Lozenge opened in my mouth like a flower blooming, all sweet and sad. And then Otis and Gloria and Stevie and Miss Franny and Dunlap and Amanda and Sweetie Pie and my daddy all started to sing a song. And I listened careful, so I could learn it right.

Almost Super 

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Almost Super - Marion Jensen

Two feuding superpower families – the Baileys (shake fist!) and the Johnsons (spit, spit!) – join forces to identify and fight the true supervillain.  

“There’s no way that our families could be fighting for decades and decades and not realize that the other family thinks they’re superheroes too.”

The Year of the Dog 

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The Year of the Dog - Grace Lin

Little Pacy is navigating first grade in America, and her parents and sisters (and ancestors) are very much part of the process. 

I set the table, Ki-Ki took out the polished serving spoons, and Lissy scopped rice out into a big bowl like she was shoveling snow. Dad got out his special wine and the delicate wine glasses that were like soap bubbles with stems. All the while, with sizzling oil and vegetable slices popping in front of her like firecrackers, Mom kept frying and chopping.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH 

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Mrs. Risby and the Rats of Nimh - Robert C. Obrien

Mrs. Jonathan Frisby’s journey to discover the secret of the Rats of NIMH is instigated by her fierce commitment to protecting her family, especially her sick son, Timothy. 

Children, I have a story to tell you. A long one.” 

Oh, good!” cried Cynthia. “What kind of story? 

A true one. About your father, and about the rats. 

How can it be about father and the rats?” Teresa asked.  

“Because he was a friend of theirs.”

Wish 

Wish - Barbara O'Connor
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Young Charlie finds a surrogate family, filled with love and bursting with life, in Colby, North Carolina, the “sorry excuse for a town” that ends up becoming a home.  

You got a good life here, Charlie. You got Gus and Bertha loving you and treating you like a princess. You got all those Odoms thanking the good Lord for you. Then there’s Howard, the nicest friend you could ever want. You got these beautiful mountains and a garden and a porch to sit on that’s like sitting on the side of heaven.”

Wonder 

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Wonder - R.J. Palacio

Auggie Pullman navigates his first year of going to school (after being homeschooled) and the withering curiosity of his peers about his face, with substantial support from his mother, father, sister, Violet, and her friends. 

Mommy, is Daisy with Grans now? 

I think so. 

Are they in heaven? 

Yes. 

Do people look the same when they get to heaven? 

I don’t know. I don’t think so. 

Then how do people recognize each other? 

“I don’t know, sweetie.” She sounded tired. “They just feel it. You don’t need your eyes to love, right? You just feel it inside you. That’s how it is in heaven. It’s just love, and no one forgets who they love.”

Summer of the Monkeys 

Summer of the Monkeys - Wilson Rawls
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While Jay Berry Lee and his dog spend the summer wrangling monkeys in the rushes and creeks of the Ozarks, his loving parents are ever present, his grandfather is vital, and his disabled sister, Daisy, inspires his true emotional growth. 

“You know, an old man like me can teach a young boy like you all the good things in life. But it takes a young boy like you to teach an old man like me to appreciate all the good things in life. I guess that’s what life’s all about.”  

Brown Girl Dreaming 

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Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson’s poetic memoir of living in Ohio, South Carolina, and Brooklyn is filled with the aromas, food, and personalities of three generations of her family. 

Soon, there’ll be lemonade on the porch, 

the swing whining the same early evening song 

it always sings 

my brother and sister with the checker set between them 

me next to my grandfather, falling asleep against 

his thin shoulder. 

Crenshaw 

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Crenshaw - Katherine Applegate

Jackson and his family are intermittently homeless, but they manage the challenges and frustrations with eye-opening good humor. 

If you ever have to live in your car, you are going to have some problems with feet…  

There are many kinds of feet problems.  

Stinky dad feet.  

The Magic Marker smell of nail polish on your mom’s toes because she says she still wants to look nice so please just deal with it.  

Sister feet kicking you just as you’re falling asleep.  

The scratchy surprise of dog feet trying to wake you up.  

Imaginary friend feet tiptoeing on your head. 

Counting by 7s

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Counting By 7's - Holly Goldberg Sloan

Willow Chance endures the tragic loss of one family and the surprising creation of another one.  

I think that at every stage of living, there are 7 people who matter in your world.  

They are people who are inside you. 

They are people you rely on. 

They are people who daily change your life.  

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