HELLO FROM RENN LAKE, by Michele Weber Hurwitz , Wendy Lamb Books, May 26, 2020, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
Michele Weber Hurwitz’s Hello from Renn Lake is a moving story of friendship and family.
Annalise Oliver’s family has owned and run lakeside cabins in Renn Lake, Wisconsin, for generations. This summer, she gets to help out while her younger sister focuses on being an actress and her best friend is babysitting rambunctious twin boys. It’s the perfect opportunity for Annalise to work and spend more time by her beloved lake.
When she was three years old, Annalise discovered that she could sense what Renn Lake was thinking and feeling. Now, at twelve, she still turns to Renn for comfort. But when a small patch of algae quickly becomes a harmful bloom, Annalise can no longer hear Renn, and the lake is closed. She and her friends must find a way to save the lake. —Synopsis provided by Wendy Lamb Books
Hello from Renn Lake is told from two perspectives — Annalise and the lake. Annalise was abandoned as a baby and the lake helped people find her. Since then, the lake has always watched out for Annalise. It’s been a comfort, a part of Annalise’s family. When the lake becomes ill, it’s as if a family member is dying.
I love how author Michele Weber Hurwitz has chosen to give the lake a voice. Conversations with nature are cathartic, and it’s not hard to imagine nature whispering back. My 6-year-old talks to the flowers in our yard and to trees on the trail. She is her happiest when at one with nature. Annalise has that same spark, that same dogged determination. She is authentic.
Annalise’s relationship with her parents and sister also hold true. There’s a natural ebb and flow to their family dynamic that adds weight to the book.
Hello from Renn Lake is a fast and educational read (algal blooms are a big environmental issue). It’s a fantastic option for summer reading.
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