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Fiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 128
Themes: pandemic, COVID-19, physical distancing, flattening the curve, greater good
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 02/Jun/2020
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Thirteen-year-old Quinn and her friends can't believe their luck when spring break is extended an extra two weeks—even if it's because of some virus. But when the impact of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic becomes apparent, everyone, not just the students, has to learn to adjust to their new reality. Quinn’s father is an ER doctor and has to self-isolate to protect his family from the virus. Isaac’s mother is the chief of police and now has to enforce new physical-distancing bylaws. Reese can’t visit her grandmother in her care home anymore. And their entire school has moved to online classes. Sacrifices have to be made to keep everyone safe, but there’s more to life than rules and scary news reports. In an effort to find some good in all this uncertainty, Quinn comes up with an idea that she hopes will bring the entire community together.

Helen Kubiw, CanLit for Little Canadians
“It’s a positive story about a very negative event that will be one for the history books. Don’t Stand So Close to Me takes readers into the pandemic of their experiences and, while teaching them important safety concerns that not all children will have learned about, reassures and provides hope.”
Kim Moss, Teacher-Librarian, Creekside Middle School, Bentonville, AR
“Navigates the experience of this unique time period with heart. I couldn't put it down. My students won't be able to either.”
Kristen Badger, Media Specialist, Switzerland Point Middle School, Jacksonville, Florida
“Wow - just wow! I LOVED it! Great story, cute without being overly so, funny, honest and fast- paced.”
Larry Swartz, author of Teaching Tough Topics
“Walters certainly has his pulse on world events and the minds of young people. So true is the narrative of this timely book, that it reads like nonfiction as much as fiction. Walters helps readers to identify, connect and make sense of a powerful turning point in history. Eric Walters, you are a hero!”
Canadian Children's Book News
“Provides clear visual representations that are easily understandable for an elementary audience...Aptly illustrates that the worst of times often brings out the best in people.”
Must Read Literature
“So timely, so perfect for right now…This is the perfect book for these pandemic times. It presents the difficulties families face but gives hope that creativity can find solutions. Middle school students will love it. A quick read.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“Brings us to what is truly important – community and trying to bring everyone together…An important read. Highly Recommended.”


Apple Best Books of the Year So Far  | 2020 | Commended
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens  | 2021 | Commended
YALSA, Quick Picks List  | 2022 | Nominated

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