Cleary, B. (1983). Dear Mr. Henshaw. New York: W. Morrow.
Dear Mr. Henshaw brings a boy who's experiencing a difficult change at home. His parents have recently separated and are in the process of divorce. He longs for a relationship with his father and to fit in school as his school lunch is constantly stolen. We're exposed to Leigh's thoughts through the letters he writes to Mr. Henshaw, the author of his favorite books. When Mr. Henshaw finally replies with a series of questions for Leigh, Leigh is forced to look into him and respond with his thoughts about some things in his life. These letters help him overcome the changes in his life and the things he won't be able to change.
This book is perfect for the fourth or fifth grader. Teachers can use this as a pre-cursor to student researching authors of some books they really like, explore writing topics in letter writing, and open the lines of communication in a similar project.
Parents can use this book to explore difficult topics youth can be facing when they're new to a school, church, or a place where their child will have to make new friends. It can also be used to open up lines of communication in children who withdraw when they encounter difficulties at a young age.