Do you ever pick up holds at the library and wonder why you ordered a particularly book? It happens to me more often than I would like but usually I attribute it to a recommendation of a fellow blogger. I found Listening for Crickets on my hold shelf. (Yes, I do almost have my own shelf at the library.) This middle grade fiction book has a gorgeous cover so maybe I thought it was a picture book. If you know where I might have read about, let me know. I used to read a lot of middle grade fiction when I worked for Scholastic but since the arrival of Cate all I read are picture books. It was nice to be able to read it in an evening and a welcome change of pace.
There are some swear words in this book. I always worry that that might offend someone. I assume that all the children of my readers live a fairly blessed and privileged life. Listening for Crickets is about a brother and sister who do not live in privilege. The father is a loving but unstable alcoholic and the mother must work hard to protect her children and make ends meet. That said, this book is gentle enough for a 9 or 10 year old to read and perhaps discuss with a parent. A child can read this and come away with a certain gratitude for the ease of his life. Also, I would recommend it for a boy who has learning struggles.
Jake is ten years old and is very protective of his younger sister Cassie. They share a bedroom in their small house. When their parents fight, Jake tells Cassie stories to ease her fears. Jake has a remarkable ability to create calm for his sister and himself. He is a bit different, a few webbed toes, extra large ears and much to his embarrassment he is in the "special" class for reading. He reminds the adult reader that children come with all kinds of intelligence. Jake is a gentle and wonderful kid despite all his hardships. I highly recommend the book.