The Benefits of Being an Octopus

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Product Details
$16.99  $15.80
Sky Pony
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.3 X 1.1 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author
Ann Braden writes books about kids struggling to find their voice amidst the realities of life. She founded GunSenseVT, a grassroots group focused on championing the common ground on the issue of guns in Vermont, which recently helped pass landmark gun violence prevention legislation. She also founded the Local Love Brigade, which now has chapters all over the country sending love postcards to those who are facing hate. Ann is the co-host of the children's book podcast, "Lifelines: Books that Bridge the Divide," along with Pakistani American author Saadia Faruqi, and is a former middle school teacher. She lives in southern Vermont with her husband, two children, and two insatiable cats named Boomer and Justice. Visit her online at
NPR Best Book of 2018
Bank Street List for Best Children's Books of 2019
2020 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Nominee
2021 South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominee
2020-2021 Truman Award​ (Missouri) Nominee
Middle School Virginia Readers' Choice Titles for 2020-2021​
Charlie May Simon Award 2020-2021 List
Iowa Teen Award List 2020-2021
Named to the Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher List, Maine's Student Book Award List, Louisiana Young Reader's Choice Award List, Rhode Island Middle School Book Award 2020 List
2023 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award nominee

"This heartbreaking, beautifully written book about finding one's voice will offer some readers a relatable reflection and others a window that can help build empathy and understanding." -- School Library Journal, Starred Review

"This engrossing debut novel...takes the reader on her journey from the dire side of the class divide to a life of cautious hope as she learns the world is big enough for choices, actions, and results." -- Booklist
"This accomplished debut novel looks at poverty and domestic violence through the eyes of Zoey, who helps take care of three younger siblings for her overworked mother. While author Ann Braden tackles complex issues without being preachy, this is ultimately the story of a girl who wants better for her family--and the risks she's willing to take to achieve it. Zoey's voice is funny without self-pity, and it's easy to see how a perceptive debate teacher might notice her when others don't. The Benefits of Being an Octopus will change the way you see things, too." -- Lisa Yee, author, most recently of the DC Super Hero Girls series, for NPR's Best Books of 2018
"The Benefits of Being an Octopus is a beautiful, layered look at the courage it takes to stand up to and stand up for the people you love--including yourself. Braden's story captivated me and carried me along, leaving me changed for the better. -- Elaine Vickers, author of Like Magic and Paper Chains

"With grace and heart and words masterfully woven, The Benefits of Being an Octopus captures the quiet and loud masks of domestic violence. Braden navigates the complexities of choice and power and the meaning of courage. And how sometimes together, we can find our voice and our strength." -- Elly Swartz, author of Finding Perfect and Smart Cookie

"This wise book knows we can't always keep the people we love safe. But it also knows that courage and compassion can sometimes turn lives around. You will care so fiercely about Zoey -- the octopus-loving, truth-telling young heroine that you'll want to wrap all eight of your own arms around her." -- Anne Nesbet, author of California Book Award winner, Cloud, and Wallfish

"You are seen. You are heard. You are loved." In a perfect world, every child would know these three absolutes. Ann Braden shares this message with her readers in a funny, poignant story about Zoey, her siblings, their mother, and one very special teacher. An octopus might be the most clever creature, but it can't hold a candle (or eight) to Braden's masterfully constructed prose." -- K. A. Holt, author of House Arrest