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Hello, Universe
Cover of Hello, Universe
Hello, Universe
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Winner of the Newbery Medal"A charming, intriguingly plotted novel." —Washington PostAcclaimed and award-winning author Erin Entrada Kelly's Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood...
Winner of the Newbery Medal"A charming, intriguingly plotted novel." —Washington PostAcclaimed and award-winning author Erin Entrada Kelly's Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood...
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  • Winner of the Newbery Medal

    "A charming, intriguingly plotted novel." —Washington Post

    Acclaimed and award-winning author Erin Entrada Kelly's Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood story about unexpected friendships.

    Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero). "Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits."—Booklist

    In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball.

    They aren't friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.

    The acclaimed author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible tween voice that will appeal to fans of Thanhha Lai and Rita Williams-Garcia.

    "Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending."—School Library Journal

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • New York Times–bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly was awarded the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe. She grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and now lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she earned an MFA from Rosemont College. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. Erin Entrada Kelly's debut novel, Blackbird Fly, was a Kirkus Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and an Asian/Pacific American Honor Book. She is also the author of The Land of Forgotten Girls, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and You Go First, a Spring 2018 Indie Next Pick. The author's mother was the first in her family to immigrate to the United States from the Philippines and she now lives in Cebu.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 19, 2016
    Kelly (The Land of Forgotten Girls) offers up a charming novel about a serendipitous friendship that forms among a trio of sixth graders after a bully’s heartless act brings them together. Virgil Salinas, an immensely shy 11-year-old, lives in the shadow of his boisterous family, struggles in school, and wants little more than to hang out with his guinea pig, Gulliver, and friend, Kaori Tanaka, a self-proclaimed psychic. Virgil’s classmate Valencia, who is ostracized at school because of her near deafness, longs for a friend for the summer and hopes that Kaori’s psychic powers might help her vanquish her recurring nightmares. Instead, Kaori enlists Valencia’s help to rescue Virgil after he fails to show up for a scheduled meeting. Kelly rotates among the viewpoints of Kaori, Virgil, Valencia, and neighborhood bully Chet, who contribute their own distinct stories, voices, and challenges. Infused with humor and hope, this book deftly conveys messages of resilience and self-acceptance through simple acts of everyday courage. Readers will be left inspired to tackle life’s fears head-on. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties.

  • AudioFile Magazine Ramon de Ocampo and Amielynn Abellera narrate this charming story, told from four points of view. We meet shy Virgil, brave Valencia, bullying Chet, and fortune-telling Kaori, whose middle school lives fatefully intersect one summer day. De Ocampo perfectly captures Virgil's painful timidity--and just as easily brings to life Lola, Virgil's wise, sassy Filipino grandmother, who encourages Virgil to find his inner bayani (hero). Abellera's portrayal of fearless Valencia ("my name could lead people into battle") is especially fine. Valencia happens to be deaf, and secretly lonely; Abellera nails her prickly but lively way of seeing the world. This especially engaging and sensitive production fully accesses the story's keen perceptions on courage, fate, and friendship. J.C.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 15, 2016
    The lives of several middle school children intersect one summer day, as if by fate. Kelly's inventive story centers on gentle and quiet Virgil Salinas, a Filipino-American 11-year-old, and is told from several supremely well-crafted perspectives. Virgil longs to find the courage to talk to Valencia Somerset, who is confident, independent, and deaf. Third-generation Japanese-American Kaori Tanaka, Virgil's good friend and a budding entrepreneur, offers kids her gift of second sight as a professional psychic. Chet Bullens is the neighborhood bully, and he torments Virgil regularly. Though he is immediately unlikable, Chet's internal dialogue is nuanced, allowing young readers to understand the forces that shape his worldview and to glimpse the insecurity that underscores his behavior. On his way through the woods to Kaori's house for a reading, Virgil encounters Chet, whose cruelty endangers Virgil's beloved guinea pig, Gulliver, and ultimately leaves Virgil stranded and helpless. This ordeal spurs the unexpected collision of all the characters. Virgil, alone except for visits by personifications from the dark folk tales often shared by his Filipina grandmother, contemplates how he will become the hero in his own story should he survive. The short chapters, compelling characters, and age-appropriate suspense will hook young readers immediately. Neither Valencia nor Chet is cued racially. An original and resonant exploration of interconnectedness and friendship. (Fiction. 9-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2017

    Gr 3-7-The universe comes together unexpectedly when a unique set of circumstances cause four tweens to cross paths. Central to the story is Virgil, an 11-year-old Filipino American whose grandmother, Lola, helps him to come out of his shell and face the world. When Virgil and his pet guinea pig, Gulliver, end up trapped in a well in the woods at the hands of a bully, Chet, it is up to the stars to align before it's too late. Coming together like spokes on a wheel, everyone converges in the woods-Valencia, a Deaf girl on whom Virgil has a crush; Kaori, an adolescent fortune-teller and free spirit; Kaori's sister, Gen, her jump-roping apprentice; a feral dog Valencia has befriended; and a snake, which is the only thing Chet fears. Unlikely friendships are formed and heroism abounds as the group of young people try to find their way in the world. Plucky protagonists and a deftly woven story will appeal to anyone who has ever felt a bit lost in the universe. VERDICT Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone-humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.-Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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