Times are hard. And because they are hard for adults, they are also hard for kids. Now, more than I ever, I need to be able to hand kids books that say, "You are not alone." I have found a new one this week.

Twelve-year-old Rebecca, in Laurel Snyder's BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX, will be a friend, I am sure, for many of my students. Her mom and dad are having a hard time, and finally, one day after school, her mom puts Rebecca and her three-year-old brother, Lew, in the car and leaves Baltimore, headed for her mother's house in Atlanta.

Rebecca, who has always been called Rebecca, misses her dad horribly. And she is a new kid, missing her niche and friends in her old school, trying to be the "Becky" that the popular kids at her new school want her to be. And her mom, drowning in adult issues, is not really there to help.

Rebecca/Becky's life is further complicated by a magical bread box that she finds in the attic at her grandmother's house. She can wish for anything she wants- an iPod, her favorite Baltimore treats, cash, cute clothes-- and as long as it is small enough to fit into a bread box, her wish will be granted. Rebecca uses the bread box a lot, until she discovers the source of all of its riches…

BIGGER THAN A BREAD BOX is one of those books that screams to be shared with kids. It's about family, and fitting in, and growing up, and right and wrong. But mostly, it's just about saying to kids, "You are not alone."

And I know a lot of kids that need to hear that message…

P.S. Karen, over at Literate Lives review Bread Box here, then has a recap of a skyping session between her class and Laurel Snyder here.