We started literature circles this week and I decided to choose realistic fiction books for our first round. One of the books I chose for students is How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor. It's a great realistic fiction book that discusses the issues that this family is dealing with as a result of their father/husband abandoning them suddenly. They are living in their car, Mom's working two jobs and the kids are fending for themselves. Georgina sees an ad for a reward in exchange for the return of a lost dog and she gets the idea to steal a dog to earn the money her family needs to get an apartment.
Although the book deals with some heavy and sensitive topics, the author keeps it light and focuses on the plans Georgina writes in her journal and the adventures she and her brother have, rather than bringing down the tone of the book with constant negative dwelling on the family's situation.
Readers will learn along with Georgina that bad times don't last forever and that everyone makes mistakes. Those mistakes can have happy endings when you work to rectify them.
Amazon lists the lexile at 700L. With the topics the book discusses, I would recommend it for 4th grade and up. It has been a perfect read for my low fifth graders. The storyline is engaging and they are able to access and comprehend the text. A caution to consider student situations and emotions before using this book. Though the author does a great job, some students may be sensitive to the family's situation.
Have a book you'd like to share? It's the third Wednesday of the month and that means Book Share Wednesday is a link up!! Be sure to link up your book share post sometime in the next week. The linky will be open through next Wednesday. Please grab the button to add to your post and link it back to this post. Don't have a post? Please share your book in the comments.