Book review: Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate

Applegate, Katherine. Crenshaw. Feiwel & Friends, 2015. 245 pgs. $16.99. ISBN 9781250043238. Ages 9-12. P7Q9

Applegate CrenshawHaving been homeless and sleeping in the family van, ten-year-old Jackson becomes anxious when he overhears his parents talking about money and setting up a yard sale to raise funds to pay the rent.  He tries to comfort his younger sister, but lacks the information necessary to waylay her fears.  Then, Jackson begins seeing Crenshaw, a six-foot black and white cat, and begins to worry that he is going crazy.  After all, why else would he again be seeing the imaginary friend who had disappeared from his life years ago?  Crenshaw shows the grinding, daily worries of financially distressed families, the fears of homelessness, and the effects of such worries on children, and still shows the importance of friends, both real and imaginary. Newbery Medal winner Katherine Applegate succeeds with this age-appropriate story on difficult topics of homelessness and poverty.  Highly recommended for elementary, middle school, and public libraries.

June 2016 review by Jane Cothron.

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