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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Counting by 7s comes a heartfelt story about "the importance of compassion and bravery when facing life’s challenges” (Kirkus) for fans of The One and Only Ivan and Front Desk.

It's been almost a year since Sila's mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places. 

A moving story of family separation and the importance of the connection between animals and humans, this novel has the enormous heart and uplifting humor that readers have come to expect from the beloved author of Counting by 7s.

©2021 Holly Goldberg Sloan (P)2021 Listening Library

What the critics say

"Using multiple narrative perspectives, [Goldberg Sloan] touches on many weighty topics (grief, autism, deportation, animal cruelty), handling each with sensitivity." (Booklist)

"Sloan captures the importance of compassion and bravery when facing life’s challenges...themes of collectivity and community in the face of isolation and stigma are brought to the surface and themselves offer depth to this heartfelt and sincere story." (Kirkus)

"Sloan (To Night Owl from Dogfish) fully builds the emotional interiors of each character, including Veda. This heartfelt tale thoughtfully conveys the agony of family separation, the beauty of nature, and the power of friendship to overcome tremendous difficulties." (Publishers Weekly)

“A gorgeous and emotional novel. I loved every page.”(Cynthia Kadohata, Newbery Medal-winning author of Kira-Kira)
 

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