It's fun to shop at school book fairs, especially when they offer BOGO. I picked up eight books at Center City Public Charter School -- Petworth Campus' recent sale.The photo on Cecilia Galante's Strays Like Us book cover got my attention, but it was the heartfelt, first person narrative that sucked me in and held me until the last page. Fred (Winifred) is one of those middle school protagonists who goes through a whirlwind of emotional changes in 300 pages! She is supported a long the way by an eccentric, motorcycle driving, welder foster mom; a bullied classmate determined to be Fred's friend; and an abused neighbor dog. The motley band of misfits are survivors. Fred's mother's drug addiction is central to the story, but not a main story line. It's Fred's relationships with the others that drive the story and highlight Fred's resiliency and transformation. Some of the dog scenes are difficult to read; they make you wonder why animal control couldn't step in and remove the dog. It's a small rural town where everyone minds their own business, so the lack of humane law intervention does not come out of left field. Fred and Toby, the old dog, eventually come together for keeps after a series of breath-sucking, tragic events.
I also picked up Royal Dogs, a quick, fun read that highlights the journey of Meghan Markle's rescue beagle, Guy. The little dog traveled from a shelter in Kentucky to an adoption event in Canada. That's where the Duchess met him and fell in love. He then moved to England with Meghan where he is enjoying a legitimately royal life. Lots of famous people have adopted shelter animals, probably so many that an entire book could be filled of with their photos and stories.