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Often times students turn to characters and literature to navigate their life, which when done properly can lead to great self discovery and empowerment. Tracey Hecht, author of The Nocturnals series, wrote books that were great for elementary and middle school readers because they incorporated real life scenarios, feelings, and even a little education weaved into stories about animals.
Readers may see a bit of themselves in any of the three main characters: Bismark, Dawn, and Tobin. Bismark is a sugar glider with a highly elevated view of himself and has confidence oozing out of him. His unrequited love, Dawn the fox, is the leader of their nocturnal gang. She has many quality of a leader: smarts, strength, and grace. Finally, Tobin, a pangolin with a huge heart, keeps the group grounded with his loyalty and love for everyone.
You can read about their adventures in the three main books of The Nocturnals series:
The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions take Bismark, Tobin, and Dawn on an adventure to find out why animals are disappearing. The trio have help from some unlikely animals with this mystery that quickly becomes a game of survival.
The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye again the gang uses their investigative abilities to find out what is causing fractures in the earth. Their first lead comes from Polyphema, a reptile called a tuatara, who knows what beast is causing the fractures. The gang must figure out if they can trust Polyphema and how to stop the beast from destroying the earth. You’ll see some familiar friends and be on the edge of your seat trying to find out how to stop this catastrophe.
The Nocturnals: The Fallen Star starts out with a fallen meteor to earth! Is it a coincidence that at the same time the fruits are making the animals sick or is the meteor to blame? Iris, an aye-aye or lemur, tells the gang that it is all because of the moon monsters. Unsure of her logic, Bismark, Dawn, and Tobin search out a more plausible answer and a cure to help their animal friends.
Finally, the The Moonlight Meeting early reader is the newest book from The Nocturnals series. It’s perfect for readers in kindergarten to second grade! Tobin, Dawn, and Bismark are featured in this story of friendship and humor that takes readers on an exploration of their nighttime world. You can even find a bonus animal glossary in the book to keep track of all the nocturnal animals you meet.
If you’re looking for a new series for your middleschooler, The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht is a fantastic choice. There is something in the story for every interest, and the relatability of the characters and their situations will surprise you. They address some tough topics, and these books are a great way to get those conversations started between parents and their children.