Sometimes you don’t need a book with mountain-climbing teenage spies or vampires in love. You’re just fine with a book that doesn’t involve kids fighting each other in arenas or desperately trying to escape evil villains. And you’re ok without the mean girls and the inspiring teacher who can change the world.
For me, there’s a definite time and place for more gentle reads, books that tell stories of daily life without quite so much drama, books that are so realistic you can imagine the people being someone you really know. Jeanne Birdsall’s latest, The Penderwicks in Spring, is like that. The Penderwick girls have aged, and now the youngest, Batty, is the center of the story. Her life is full of supportive family and good neighbors who care about her, but she still struggles sometimes. She worries about her neighbor who’s in the military, wonders whether her parents can afford vocal lessons for her, and tries to figure out how to handle her changing relationship with her family and friends. There are moments of humor and moments of sadness, but it’s a regular person’s life, and it ends like a regular person’s life would. There are no last-minute rescues from rebels in hovercraft.
If you’d like other less flashy, but still wonderful, feel good stories, try these:
The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall
Absolutely Truly, Heather Vogel Frederick
Bo at Ballard Creek, Kirkpatrick Hill
Turtle in Paradise, Jennifer Holm
One Year in Coal Harbor, Polly Horvath
The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days, Michele Hurwitz
A Snicker of Magic, Natalie Lloyd
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, Sheila Turnage