by Chudney Ross
Bean is just starting 3rd grade after a summer spent with her cousin Tanya at her grandmother's house. When she returns to school, her best friend Carla has replaced her with Sam and everyone is mean to her. Without a best friend, Bean feels lost. Meanwhile, her delivery nurse mother is working a lot and missing important moments and her music teacher father is forcing her to choose which instrument she will play. She's unhappy all around and s-a-d SAD!
Told in the first person, which is less common in middle-grade books, Bean's voice is clear and concise and fairly authentic. A kid in the intended demographic (8-12 year olds) will likely have no problem believing the story is told by a 9-year-old. The story has a fantastic focus on navigating friendship, a territory important to many a 3rd grader.
This first book by Ross, who owns a bookstore in Santa Monica, would also work as a read-aloud for kids as young as 6.