cover image Moonpenny Island

Moonpenny Island

Tricia Springstubb, illus. by Gilbert Ford. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-211293-4

“Some things in life change wham-bam, dramatic and sudden as a pin and a balloon. But usually, change is sneakier. More like that balloon leaking its air, deflating bit by bit.” Springstubb (Mo Wren, Lost and Found) follows Flor O’Dell’s search for sure footing as her safe, comfortable island life is rocked by change. Flor faces several potentially earth-shattering shifts in her family and friendships just as she’s entering sixth grade, each knock like “an invisible fist on the end of a long arm,” leaving her bruised and angry. Can friendship survive distance? Should she worry about her sister’s strange behavior? Will her parents stop fighting? Will Mama return to her big Spanish-speaking family? And who is that strange girl watching Flor everywhere she goes? While exploring familiar themes of the unavoidable changes of adolescence, the novel weaves complex layers of fresh, relatable imagery and charming characterization across education levels, cultures, and generations, beautifully teaching that our shared humanity is one thing that doesn’t change. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)