Give and Take by Elly Swartz

Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

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Summary:  Maggie is dealing with a lot of sadness and anxiety after losing her grandmother to dementia not long ago.  When her parents provide temporary foster care to an infant, Maggie gets very attached and is distressed to let the baby go to her adoptive family.  To deal with her feelings, she starts saving momentos of many events in her life–threads from the baby’s blanket, sticks from a hike, empty milk cartons from a fun school lunch with her friend.  When her mom discovers the overflowing boxes (and ants) under Maggie’s bed, she sees that Maggie needs help. With the assistance of a therapist, Maggie learns the root causes of her behavior and some new ways to deal with them.  320 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  Maggie’s issues are addressed with sensitively, and in a way that might help other kids who are dealing with similar ones.  There are interesting subplots, including Maggie’s success on her trap shooting team, a lost-and-found tale about her pet turtle, and a new boy on the team who is dealing with some difficult family issues of his own.

Cons:  Maggie’s relationships with her brothers seemed a little too rosy to be true.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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