Growing Up in Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz writes a monthly column of book recommendations for young readers in Growing Up in Santa Cruz--a publication for families in Santa Cruz County.

Great for a drizzly day, this collection of poems celebrates rain throughout the seasons. Young nature lovers will delight in the many styles of poetry (from Robert Frost to Issa to haiku) as well as the misty and whimsical illustrations throughout. —S.B.

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One Big Rain: Poems for Every Season Cover Image
By Rita Gray (Compiled by), Ryan O'Rourke (Illustrator)
$7.95
ISBN: 9781570917172
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Charlesbridge Publishing - July 22nd, 2014

Stella is a vivacious older sister who leads her little brother Sam through the winter season using their collective curiosity and imagination. Accompanied by the fanciful illustrations seen in all the Stella books, Stella and Sam explore snow and ice and all things winter while furthering their heartfelt relationship and their love of nature in all forms. Reading this book will make you want to grab your nearest sibling and go exploring. —Casey

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Stella, Queen of the Snow (Stella and Sam Books) Cover Image
By Marie-Louise Gay (Illustrator)
$7.95
ISBN: 9781554980710
Availability: Backordered
Published: Groundwood Books - July 29th, 2010

Did you know that when an elephant wanders away from its herd, putting itself in danger of encounters with lions, it is a protective big sister who usually guides the elephant back to safety? Or that wild turkey brothers stay together for life, and even help attract mates and chase off rival males for each other? These revelations, along with more stories about sibling relationships—from Nile crocodiles to black widow spiders—make the new book Sisters & Brothers both informative and fun. Which animal species is most like your family? The Naked Mole Rats who lay down in tunnels for others to walk on depending upon age status, or the beavers who work together with their siblings to gather bark to feed on during winter? Filled with science, animal facts, and great illustrations, this book is a fun exploration for the whole family.  —Casey

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Sisters & Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780547727387
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 20th, 2012

What could be more unlikely than a boy growing up with a pet cheetah? This true story, told in photographs, text, and drawings, has fascinated my kids ever since they were toddlers—and it is downright compelling for grown-ups, as well. Xan Hopcraft grew up with a pet cheetah (who was abandoned as a baby) at his home in Nairobi, Kenya. When the magnificent animal, Dooms, died, Xan wrote a story about what it was like to have a cheetah as part of his family, and the impact of his loss. How it Was With Dooms is a tender and moving book, but also one that shows that cheetahs are, in fact, wild—and like all living things, deserve our respect.  --S.B.

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How It Was with Dooms: A True Story from Africa Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780689835391
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Aladdin Paperbacks - April 14th, 2010

An utterly irresistible, completely adorable tale of a bear who just wants his hat back, but can't remember where in the forest he could possibly have left it. This is a bear who really, really loves his hat, and will stop at nothing to see its return. Clever, funny, and perfectly illustrated, it is delightful book. —Flannery Fitch
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I Want My Hat Back Cover Image
By Jon Klassen, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763655983
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 27th, 2011

After missing a semester because of mono, Indigo does not want to go back to school, where he knows bullies await him. But once he returns, he befriends a new kid, Tom, who has just moved to England from the U.S., and who is also targeted by the bullies. Spurred on by Indigo’s little sister, Rose, they become friends and eventually find the strength to stand up for themselves. Warm, funny, and encouraging, filled with wonderful dialogue and characters, this is a great book for middle schoolers.  --Flannery

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Indigo's Star Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781416914037
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - January 1st, 2006

Five very different people—one teacher, four students—come together to form a winning academic trivia team, all leaning on each other for the support they need to get through school. Led by their paraplegic teacher, the four students deal with bullies, not fitting in, and their own changing lives. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view, giving each character depth and making the story connect in a special way. I adored this book as a kid, and it taught me all kinds of useful (and useless) trivia!  --Flannery

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The View from Saturday (Jean Karl Books) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780689817212
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - February 1st, 1998

Not only is this one of the most perfect books to get kids excited for school, but it teaches you to count to 100! This delightful book chronicles Emily’s first 100 days at school as she learns about numbers and letters and all sorts of other neat things, makes friends, and spends time with them and her family. This book is bright and cheerful in that special Rosemary Wells way, and kids will look forward to school once they see all the fun Emily has there.  --Flannery

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Emily's First 100 Days of School Cover Image
By Rosemary Wells, Rosemary Wells (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780786813544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney-Hyperion - August 23rd, 2005

Wilson loves school so much, he just can’t wait to get there, but things at school seem a little different today, as he finds himself all alone as a mysterious creature slinks nearer! Wilson’s enthusiasm is infectious, and this charming book is a staff favorite!  --Flannery

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Wilson and Miss Lovely: A Back-to-School Mystery Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780375844782
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Robin Corey Books - June 23rd, 2009

Yoon and her family have just moved to America from Korea, and all Yoon wants is to go back. She doesn’t like the way her name looks in English letters, and she doesn’t think her teacher likes her very much. Slowly, Yoon begins to realize that maybe America isn’t so bad, and that her name is beautiful no matter how she writes it. A lovely story that comes highly recommended by Ga, our children’s book buyer, My Name Is Yoon is all about learning that just because things have changed doesn’t mean they’re bad.  --Flannery

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My Name Is Yoon Cover Image
By Helen Recorvits, Gabi Swiatkowska (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9781250057112
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - June 10th, 2014

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