In case you didn't know, Mary Downing Hahn doesn't only write scary stories, she also writes realistic fiction. Where I Belong is the story of a young boy, Brendan, who was abandoned at birth by a drug addicted mother. He hasn't been adopted and is in yet one more foster home.
He is failing school and is friendless, but he is okay with failing school as he is terrified of going to the middle school and being picked on by even more bullies. He feels that if he stays where he is, he will be too big to get bullied.
Brendan's foster mother is frustrated with is lack of motivation. He spends as much time as possible in the woods, and when he is forced to attend summer school, a girl follows him to his tree house in the woods and they become friends.
This story reminded me a bit of Bridge to Terebithia with two friends enjoying the magic of the woods. Brendan tries hard to find his place in a world where he doesn't feel he has a home. This is a book about friendships, about what we tell our friends to make sure they like us, and about what we withhold from the telling or lie about in order to keep our friends.
Read to a child today to help them understand how to be a good friend.