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Last updated Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Author: Barbara O'Connor
Date of Publication: 2016
ISBN: 0374302731
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2017

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.

Note to readers:
•  The book is long and you will not finish. Read the synopsis/first paragraph of inside jacket to the kids before you begin reading so they understand the story. Try to read to page 29.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever made a wish? What was your wish?
•  What are the different ways or times when you can make a wish? (blowing out birthday candles, on a falling star, throwing coins in a fountain, wishbone from a chicken, wearing a new pair of shoes....)
•  Have any of your wishes come true?
•  Vocabulary--plumes-smoke that resembles long soft feathers; hurled--threw; trudged--to walk with heavy steps; trotted--walk quickly;

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do you think Charlie's wish was?
•  What code word would you have for every time you get mad?
•  Why is it hard to move to a new place and go to a new school?
•  What do you do to make a new student feel welcome at your school?

Craft ideas:
•  Make an animal shaped Valentine using different sizes of hearts, such as using large heart for the face and smaller hearts for the ears, mouth etc... For ideas check our February Pinterest board!
•  Make a Valentine's card for your mom, dad, teacher, friend or pet.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!