2015 Rebecca Caudill Roundup: Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow

Saving.Zasha.cover_001As I suggested in my post about Dorothy Hinshaw Patent’s Dogs on Duty (also a 2015 nominee), it doesn’t take much to convince about half of a class of upper elementary or junior high students to want to read a book about dogs. But, of course, Rebecca Caudill evaluators have made sure that the “dog titles” included on the list are excellent ones.

Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow is a solid historical fiction offering for middle graders. It offers a fresh perspective of WWII: soon after the war, a Russian boy, Mikhail, encounters a dying man and his dog. He is surprised to even see a German Shepard, for during the war Russians were so distrustful of anything German that dogs of German origin were put to death. In order to take care of the dog, Zasha, the family puts itself at great risk.  Although the risks are real and make the reader nervous, there is a very happy ending all around, as even Mikhail’s father, who was presumed dead by many, is reunited with his family at the end. If readers want more of Zasha’s story, they can read the prequel, Finding Zasha.

Rebecca Caudill fun fact:

Here are some other “dog titles” that have appeared as nominees since 2000:

  • Letters from Wolfie by Patti Sherlock (2009)
  • Thunder from the Sea  by Joan Hiatt Harlow (2008)
  • Love That Dog by Sharon Creech (2004)
  • No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman (2004) (a bit of a stretch)
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (2002)
  • My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen (2001)
  • Saving Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (2000)

Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts


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