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Fiction Ages 8-11
Pages: 208
Themes: exotic animals, rescue, adoption, pets, lizards, snakes, reptiles, birds, shelter, belonging, family, community, displacement, friendship
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/03/2016
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Amelia’s world came crashing down when her parents separated and she was forced to relocate with her mother to a new part of town. But when Duke and Gabriella move into the suite downstairs with their menagerie of exotic animals, Amelia feels like she’s been thrown a lifeline. Helping care for the animals gives Amelia a sense of purpose, and she’s determined to keep Duke and Gabriella’s secret. But eventually her mother discovers the animals and refuses to let them stay. To make matters worse, Winston, a sulcata tortoise, has fallen ill, and the medical bills are piling up. Can Amelia figure out a way to help save Winston and keep her newfound family together?

School Library Connection - August 1, 2016
"Readers will be pleased...wonderful as a classroom read-aloud."
CM Magazine - March 11, 2016
"The human relationships are caring without being perfect...Authentic. Recommended."
Booklist - March 1, 2016
"Short, manageable chapters lend readability...will especially appeal to animal-lovers and -caregivers."
Kirkus Reviews - January 15, 2016
"Citra keeps the focus light...and delivers some life lessons with grace. The story neatly focuses on the passions not only of Amelia, but also of Duke and Gabriella, in whom Amelia finds an extended family after her parents' divorce. It all comes together in a lovely little episode that animal-loving young readers should especially find resonant. Sweet and lively."

Awards

PNBA Book Award  | 2017 | Short-listed
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens  | 2016 | Commended
Chocolate Lily Book Award  | 2017 | Short-listed

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