Readaloud of the Week: The Secret Language

The Secret Language
By Ursula Nordstrom

In brief: Victoria is shy and lonely as she begins her first year at boarding school, but when she meets Martha, she discovers that friendship can make school a magical place.

What makes it a great readaloud? Nordstrom—who's probably best known as the editor of legendary authors including Maurice Sendak and Louise Fitzhugh—puts her own literary chops to work in this gentle boarding school tale about two lonely girls who bond over their shared circumstances. It's full of lovely details—pistachio ice cream Halloween costumes! a secret language! dollhouse drawers—and the wistful acknowledgement that everyone on an adventure longs for home.

But be aware: This is a quiet little book full of quiet little moments—there's not a lot of drama and no big villain to defeat, so you might want to skip it if that's a readaloud requirement.