How I Heard About It: While at ALA in Chicago I was walking the exhibits hall and from a distance I saw Paul Griffin. I wanted to go over the introduce myself, but he had a long line while signing books for When Friendship Followed Me Home. When I checked back, he was walking away with his agent/publisher. I went up and introduced myself. It was such a surreal moment. He was one of the most genuine and kind men I've ever chatted with. I learned he would be signing ARC's of the new book on the following day. Making a point to get in line, I received a copy of the book, and was able to chat a bit more with Paul. This was my #bookaday and read the novel in one sitting.
What It Is About: Can a pig be a boy's pet dog? Well, according to Lorenzo (Renzo) Ventura it can. When this runt is left behind on Renzo's farm, he bonds with it immediately. He convinces his mom and Double (grandfather) that the pig should remain on the farm with the new litter of puppies that their dog Bella just delivered. As Marty grows (much faster than the puppies), he makes himself right at home while taking on many of the dog behaviors. Renzo and his friend Paloma enjoy taking care of Marty and bonding over their love of music. Paloma has dreams of becoming a famous singer with Renzo as her partner with his guitar. When Pal gets the opportunity to travel to a special music camp, she leaves Renzo and Marty on their own. Marty is getting bigger and bigger and Renzo's mother isn't sure they can keep the pig on their farm. Renzo can't quite believe we may lose his beloved pet. He sets out to find a way to "save Marty". The biggest obstacle is finding the courage in himself to accomplish the biggest goal he has ever set for himself. Renzo wishes his father could help, but all he has from him is a series of letters he wrote to him before he was born while serving in a war. Within these letters are some of the answers Renzo has been searching for his entire life.
What I Thought Of It: As I mentioned above, this was today's #bookaday. I literally walked out onto my deck, sat down, and read the entire story. I could not put it down. As much as I adored When Friendship Followed Me Home, I think I loved this story even more. Renzo was a strong, admirable, and kind boy. The characters of Paloma and Double were enjoyable to read and learn about. They were such a wonderful support system to Renzo. As Renzo read the letters from his father and his story unfolded, I was drawn more and more into the story. The unveiling sure hit me with an emotional punch to the heart. I would describe this story a #heartprint book that will stay with you for quite some time. Paul, you have done it again.
Who Should Read It: The book will be released during September of 2017 and needs to be in ALL classrooms. There are so many discussions and sharing that could be had with the story. The book would make for a strong and powerful read aloud in grades three, four, and/or five. If not used as a read aloud, then please put it in the hands of individual readers in grades four through six. Adult fans of middle-grade books, must read this story. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars