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{March 22, 2011}   Windfall, by Sara Cassidy

Orca Book Publishers have been extremely gracious to allow me to review Windfall prior to its release date of April 1, 2011.  The synopsis is as follows: “Life is full of challenges for thirteen-year-old Liza.  She is already having trouble coping with the death of a local homeless man when she learns that her family’s apple tree will need to be chopped down.  If that wasn’t enough, the new principal at school keeps blocking her attempts for a positive outlet by refusing permission for every project that GRRR! (Girls for Renewable Resources, Really!) and BRRR! (Boys for Renewable Resources, Really!) proposes. Liza starts to feel like she needs to create change in her world without seeking permission. When she chooses the school grounds as the site for her latest endeavor, she may have gone too far.”

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Orca Book Publishers is an organization that produces fiction for reluctant readers, especially readers on the lower spectrum, with a reading level between second grade and fourth grade.  Windfall comes from the Orca Currents series, which is for those ages 10-14, and is written in a way that the reader, especially a reluctant reader, can easily understand.  

We’ve all been there… we see a homeless person on the street and we become uncomfortable.  To see someone in such a sad state should cause us to lend a helping hand, but rarely is that the case.  Most of us would rather cross the street than walk near the homeless, a sad, but true fact.  In our world, there are many dangers, and unfortunately, strangers and the homeless tend to be feared in our society.  Windfall is unique in that is in a fictional book dealing with the death of a homeless man, Richard, and its effect on the children and families that live in the area.  Liza questions her nonchalant attitude toward the homeless and ultimately comes of age through Richard’s untimely death as she decides to give back to society.  While an explicitly environmental novel, I think many middle grade students will enjoy this novel, and hopefully be inspired to give back to the community and take care of the environment at the same time.  I was inspired by the projects that GRRR! and BRRR! take on within the novel and I found this novel a refreshing way to look at society as it is today.  While the main characters are middle grade students, and the novel lends itself to that age group, I believe this novel will also interest high school students as well.  I highly recommend it for any green thumbs out there, and anyone looking to make a difference.  Four stars.

Interested in helping the homeless?

http://www.commonground.org/

http://www.self-sufficiency.org/

www.childrenshealthfund.org

www.umom.org

www.diabetes.org

 

Check out my Orca Book Publishers page for more information, titles, and reviews for reluctant readers!

 

 

 

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