Recommended for ages 8-12
Leyla is a 12 year-old girl living in a war-torn area. She knows the rules for going to the water pump near the market – always stop between the buildings, see who is there. One day, she notices a soldier who looks different from the others: the soldier is female.
When Leyla’s life intersects with the female soldier’s life, Leyla finds herself making big decisions. Can she keep herself out of trouble while keeping her new friend safe?
The Soldier is one of Saddleback Publishing’s Hi-Lo novels written for struggling readers. The ideas are complex, but are communicated with succinct text, and short, direct sentences. The illustrations add extra interest, and at 60 pages, allows the reader the experience of reading a full novel without the stress. I love this idea! I’ve got some struggling readers at one of my library sites, and books like this could really be the thing that makes readers out of those kids.
Saddleback offers teacher resources and more hi-lo novels at their website, and are sold through Amazon and BN.com. Take a look at The Soldier, and realize that Higgins communicates an impressive story in a concise and engaging way that will invite any reader to sit down and spend some time.
M.G. Higgins is an award-winning children’s and YA novelist and non-fiction writer. Her author website offers information about her books and a bio.