All this month, we're featuring books for kids and teens here on “Ask a Bookseller.” This week's recommendation from Anna Hersh of Wild Rumpus Books in Minneapolis falls right in the middle of the kid-lit span.
It's a middle grade novel aimed at kids aged 8 to 12. Anna says Robin Gow's novel-in-verse “Dear Mothman” has taken her staff by storm.
The story follows Noah Romano, an autistic, transgender sixth grader grappling with the death of his best friend. As he grieves, Noah begins writing letters to Mothman, the local urban legend in their Pennsylvania coal mining town. ‘
Noah doesn't believe the cryptid Mothman exists, but his best friend did, and that's enough reason for Noah to making finding proof of Mothman's existence the subject of his science project. Hersh says the fun, imaginary-or-not monster strikes a nice balancing note in this beautiful novel about grief and coming-of-age.
Over the course of writing these letters, Noah finds a new group of friends who support him on his journey of embracing himself as trans. We also see Noah's family circle and teachers come to accept him as well.
“It's just the most beautiful book,” says Hersh, “and one of those things that we kind of put into everybody's hands.”
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