By: Cynthia Lord
Audience: Middle Grade
When Lily's blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it's Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season.
After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather, and Salma's friendship transforms Lily's summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they'll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant-and possibly win?
This is a great story that any kid (or grown up!) can relate to. The friendship between Lily and Salma may seem unlikely, but the two girls make a great team and become quick friends as they bond over painting bee boxes for Lily's grandpa. While spending the summer together, Lily learns a lot about Salma's life as a migrant worker, and Salma's confidence and free-spirit inspires Lily to take a chance of her own! Lily's love for her dog old dog, Lucky, is heartwarming and a bit sad at the same time... Lucky is getting older and Lily worries that he'll never be able to see again. But, her love for him and dedication to help him "see" is sure to make any reader smile and maybe get a bit teary eyed! The story has a beautiful setting that may also make you wish you were seaside, or tasting a delicious blueberry pie.
If you love stories about animals, friends, and tasty sweets, then this book is for you!