By Katherine Applegate,

Book cover of Crenshaw

Book description

The heart-warming new story about family and friendships from Newbery Medal-winner Katherine Applegate.

Life is tough for ten-year-old Jackson. The landlord is often at the door, there's not much food in the fridge and he's worried that any day now the family will have to move out of their home.…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Crenshaw as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is amazing. It’s about a kid named Jackson whose parents are having trouble making ends meet. It looks like they’re going to be homeless... again. But that’s when Crenshaw, Jackson’s old imaginary friend shows up. I love how Katherine Applegate shows Jackson’s fears and hopes. I grew up pretty poor, and so I know that she does a great job with this tough situation. Yet, despite the hardships, Applegate fills this book with fun, like when Crenshaw, a giant imaginary cat, takes a bubble bath.

From Maura's list on kids who make it through tough times.

I normally avoid reading books with an element of fantasy, but I loved this one by Katherine Applegate. Jackson has an imaginary friend named Crenshaw who is a giant cat. He hasn’t seen Crenshaw in a while but one day Crenshaw reappears to help him through a difficult time. Even though I knew Crenshaw wasn’t real, Applegate’s writing makes him come alive. This book will make you believe in magic and the power of friendship.

From Deanna's list on unlikely friendships.

When 11-year-old Jackson faces recurrent anxiety after his life is disrupted by financial hardship, his old imaginary friend, a giant purple cat named Crenshaw, reappears. Within the fantasy, Applegate addresses serious issues including homelessness, food insecurity, and disability.

Children turning to their imagination to find inner strength is a theme I found relatable. Empathy oozes into your fingertips with every page.

From David's list on that conjure up magical realism.

Have you ever had an imaginary friend? Sometimes that’s what it takes to get us through hard times. And this is the case with Jackson, a young homeless boy whose family is forced to live in their mini-van for a time. At Jackson’s lowest point, he’s joined by a giant, sharp-witted, imaginary cat named Crenshaw. This story does a great job of portraying the realities of being homeless, while at the same time being uplifting and hopeful. It’s a great book for young readers facing tough times. 

From Dianna's list on for kids in tough family situations.

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