A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year!

Opinions and Opossums

Agnes has been encouraged not to question authority by her mom—but that’s especially hard in religion class, where it bugs her that so much gets blamed on Eve and that God’s always pictured one way. Fortunately, Agnes’ anthropologist neighbor, Gracy, gets Agnes thinking after they rescue an opossum together. Playing dead didn’t serve the opossum well, so maybe it’s time for Agnes to start thinking for herself. And when Agnes learns that some cultures picture God as a female, she feels freed to think—and write—about things from new perspectives. As she and her best friend, Mo, encourage each other to get out of their comfort zone at school as the quiet kids, they quickly find it’s sorta cool seeing people react when they learn you are very much full of thought-provoking opinions.

Ann Braden has written a fast-paced, funny novel that will resonate with anyone who’s ever been afraid to say what they think or question the status quo.

"A great read aloud for the classroom." – School Library Connection, Starred Review

Flight of the Puffin

“Remember the way your kids fell in love with WONDER? …they’ll fall in love with this one, too.”

— Colby Sharp, Teacher and Nerdy Book Club Co-Founder 

Cybil Award Finalist
An Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best Books for 9-12
A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
Winner of the M. Jerry Weiss Book Award for Middle School Novels
NCTE/CLA Notable Book
NCSS-CBC Notable Book
ALA Booklist Starred Review
School Library Connection Starred Review 
Nebraska Golden Sower Award List
Vermont Golden Dome Award List
Singapore Red Dot Award List
Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award List
Wisconsin One More Page List 
Mississippi Magnolia Award List
South Carolina Junior Book Award List
Virginia Reader’s Choice Award List
Kansas William Allen White Book Award List

Join over 30,000 readers in classrooms coast to coast for the Flight of the Puffin Read Aloud…on demand!

One small act of kindness ripples out to connect four kids, in a stirring novel by the author of the beloved The Benefits of Being an Octopus.

Libby comes from a long line of bullies. She wants to be different, but sometimes that doesn’t work out. Now she’s suspended again.

On the opposite side of the country lives Vincent, a kid who loves the mathematician Katherine Johnson and being a non-conformist, who’s trying hard not to get stuffed into lockers at his new school. But that’s not working out too well either.   

Nearby is T, who couldn’t take living at home anymore and is determined to survive on a rainy sidewalk.

And then there’s Jack, a big-hearted kid so engaged in the fight to keep his small rural school open that he’s lost focus on the ones who need him most.

Four kids. Four different lives. And then… one card with a message of hope takes flight and starts a chain reaction, helping each kid summon the thing they need, whether it’s bravery, empathy, or understanding. But best of all, it makes each one realize they matter — and that they’re not flying solo anymore.

Get the Discussion Guide

Watch the Book Trailer

Check Out the Activity Starters

Take Action: Send Postcards


"One of 25 Essential Middle School Reads from the Last Decade." –– Edutopia

The Benefits of Being an Octopus

An NPR Best Book of 2018
Bank Street List for Best Children’s Books

Vermont’s Golden Dome Book Award List
Maine’s Student Book Award List
Rhode Island’s Middle School Book Award List

Louisiana’s Young Reader’s Choice Award List
Oklahoma’s Intermediate Sequoyah Book Award List

Missouri’s Truman Book Award List
Virginia’s Middle School Reader’s Choice List
Kentucky Bluegrass Award for Grades 6-8 List
Arkansas’s Charlie May Simon Award List
Iowa Teen Award List
South Carolina’s Junior Book Award List
Indiana’s Young Hoosier’s Book Award List
Georgia Children’s Book Award List 

Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award List
Illinois’ Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Award List 
Edutopia’s 25 Essential Middle School Reads from the Last Decade 


Some people can do their homework. Some people get to have crushes on boys. Some people have other things they’ve got to do.

Seventh-grader Zoey has her hands full as she takes care of her much younger siblings after school every day while her mom works her shift at the pizza parlor. Not that her mom seems to appreciate it. At least there’s Lenny, her mom’s boyfriend—they all get to live in his nice, clean trailer.

At school, Zoey tries to stay under the radar. Her only friend Fuchsia has her own issues, and since they’re in an entirely different world than the rich kids, it’s best if no one notices them.

Zoey thinks how much easier everything would be if she were an octopus: eight arms to do eight things at once. Incredible camouflage ability and steady, unblinking vision. Powerful protective defenses.

Unfortunately, she’s not totally invisible, and one of her teachers forces her to join the debate club. Even though Zoey resists participating, debate ultimately leads her to see things in a new way: her mom’s relationship with Lenny, Fuchsia’s situation, and her own place in this town of people who think they’re better than her. Can Zoey find the courage to speak up, even if it means risking the most stable home she’s ever had?

This moving debut novel explores the cultural divides around class and the gun debate through the eyes of one girl, living on the edges of society, trying to find her way forward.


Get the Educator's Guide

Watch Q&A Videos with Ann

Watch the Book Trailer