I think all teenagers should read this book. Stargirl is a former homeschooler who begins public school for the first time. Which pretty much sums up the high school experience.
Author Robert Hoge was born with deformed legs and a giant tumor between his eyes. Numerous surgeries left him with a face that even his mother struggled to love. Stella, an elephant, lives next to Ivan, a gorilla and the narrator of this true story, in a run-down shopping mall. Stella gets sick, but before she dies, she makes Ivan promise to try to free the newly captured baby elephant named Ruby.
He will do anything, including getting the attention of the humans with his crayons, to help Ruby. She feels very confused and conflicted about her heritage, but by spending time in Mexico, Clara comes to understand who she is, and grows into herself. All of us can relate to these kinds of feelings, and it gives us a chance to understand the perspective of living within two distinct cultures.
Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski has a golden iPod — one he hopes to one day launch into space as a record of life on Earth.
Along the way, Alex uncovers secrets about his family that will change his life forever — with only his kind yet equally lost new friends to help him. Some tilers were coining it during the booms, but Gary never did. That's what he claimed, anyway. Damien actually phoned last week, from Sydney.
Thought he'd remembered my birthday, but he wanted a "loan". I asked about the "serious pile" he said he'd made in Dubai, but he just said, "Go on, Mum — just a couple of grand, it goes a long way here. I'm stubbing out my cigarette when Beverly's rushing up like someone's had a heart attack.
Same puffy face, same shaven head, same dead eyes. Like broken windows in an empty house. He's tracing his fingertips over a bottle of Ariel Non Bio, like he's reading Braille.
I go up and say, "Hello, Clive. D'you remember me? I took you back last year. No magic markers, this time, right? I take that as a Yes. Before they wonder where you've gone to? Greenland Supermarket's not a charity and you're not Florence Sodding Nightingale. I let go of Clive's sleeve and we walk down the steps to the old canal from the back of Greenland Car Park. Our housing association was going to have them put down, but I thought, ' No, I can't just stand by and let that happen '. A pale girl steps up asking, "Got any spare change?
I haven't eaten all day. Past the bridge, under a big sycamore, the path forks. The right-hand path goes to what used to be the main shopping street, but me and Clive take the left path into an alley. A black lab's barking through a wire fence but I tell him to shut it and he does, and we come out into a sort of cul-de-sac of linked-up bungalows.
The hanging baskets've got purple daisies and geraniums and I tell Clive, "Someone's been busy. The big black warden from last time opens the door.
You agreed with Dr Hayes — you must register before you go out. She means me. Clive was just browsing. Then I brought him back during my break, just to make sure he got home OK. She recognises me.
Why don't you step inside, just for a second? Reception's got goldfish in a tank with a fairy castle, and glass doors leading into a courtyard thing. There's the sound of wind chimes, and homemade mobiles dangling from the ceiling, and photos of a visit to an amusement park.
A radio's burbling away quietly. In the courtyard garden some men — patients, I s'pose — are working away. Your group's at four — you'd have missed it if she hadn't brought you back — and Dr Hayes would not have been best pleased, would he? Yes he is.
Look, thank you for returning our lost sheep. I'm Sandra, by the way. He just would not be a lion anymore; or rather, his mind would no longer be a lion's mind.
In his recent book, If a Lion Could Talk: Animal Intelligence and the Evolution of Consciousness, Budiansky examines experiments performed to establish animals' cognitive abilities, and argues that rather than trying to teach apes sign language or pigeons to count, we should study the amazing feats that animals accomplish on their own -- such as a horse's ability to keep a mental map of its surroundings or a sheep's to recognize scores of individual faces.
Read an excerpt from If a Lion Could Talk. Coming to Life October An interview with Anne Fadiman, the new editor of The American Scholar, whose latest book proves what she has always suspected -- that there is an essayist lurking inside her.