Don’t Stand So Close to Me by Eric Walters
Orca Book Publishers
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Eighth graders Quinn, Isaac, and Reese are excited about their upcoming spring dance, preparing for tests and projects, and planning their spring breaks in March 2020 when the developing COVID-19 pandemic changes things. Their families are affected in key ways and the students shift to online classes. As they’re all feeling disconnected and strange, Quinn has an idea for a way to bring her friends and the community together.
Students will be very familiar with the situations in this book and the sentiments of frustration and confusion expressed by the characters. Although the subject matter is heavy, the overall tone is factual and positive. The story is straightforward, with few characters and a chronological plot that lays out the progression of the early months of the pandemic. For some readers, this book may help them identify feelings and make sense of recent history.
For fans of stories of friendship and middle school life, like New Kid and Class Act by Jerry Craft. Those who are looking for ways to process the pandemic would also appreciate Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 by Jennifer Haupt.
–Emily Williams, Oklahoma City, OK
Other Nominated Titles
- Muted by Tami Charles (February 2, 2021)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.