Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
From the author of My Deal with the Universe, a lighthearted, tender story of a girl and her steadfast duck.
I spend a lot of time thinking about what Grandad said that day Webster first went missing. How if you spend too much time dwelling on the things you’ve lost, you might not notice what you’ve got in its place. And how sometimes those things can be just as wonderful. But in a different way.
Sarah is turning twelve. For the last ten years, ever since her dad mysteriously left, Sarah and her mom have always celebrated together for an entire birthday week. But when Sarah finds out that this year her mother has to work, and that she’s signed Sarah up last minute for a week of culinary school instead, things go from bad to worse.
At least the camp has agreed to let Sarah bring her duck, Webster. Sarah knows that with Webster by her side, she can handle whatever comes her way. But then Webster goes missing, just as Sarah’s search for her absent father comes up empty as well. Will she have to say yet another painful goodbye?
In a story about love, friendship, search for identity, and the hardship of loss, Sarah finds joy and strength in unexpected friendships and learns that when we focus so much on chasing answers, we can forget to notice what we already have.
About the author
Deborah Kerbel is the author of several picture books, including Before You Were Born, When Molly Drew Dogs, and the award-winning Sun Dog, as well as novels for middle grade and young adult readers. Born in London, England, she moved to Canada at the age of two and went on to attend the University of Western Ontario. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association YA Book of the Year, and the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award. Deborah lives in Thornhill, Ontario, with her husband, two book-loving children, and a schnoodle named Alfredo.
Praise for My Deal with the Universe:
Short-listed, Red Cedar Award (BC Young Readers’ Choice), 2020,
Short-listed, Diamond Willow Award (Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice), 2020
Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children’s Choice), 2020
Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year, 2018
“Excellent . . . Deborah Kerbel has created a perfect storm of wildly clashing values and gentle personal growth at the centre of this story and has managed it with grace and honesty.”— Resource Links
“Remarkable . . . I actually found myself missing the characters once I was done. Highly recommended.” 4/4 stars — CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“Lightness and sparkle . . . Deborah Kerbel makes it clear that normal is different for everyone . . .” — CanLit for LittleCanadians
“My Deal with the Universe is a tender story about learning to love what makes you different, featuring the coolest house I’ve ever read about.” — Vikki VanSickle, author of The Winnowing