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Manatee Summer Discussion Questions and Book Review

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Manatee Summer by Evan Griffith is a story about friendship, conservation, and navigating the difficulties in life.

This realistic fiction book was the foundation of some great discussions about theme in my online book club for kids. The main character felt relatable to many of them and they loved the inclusion of a manatee.

I am so glad I chose this title for my Online Middle School Monthly Fiction Book Club in April 2024.

This Manatee Summer book review includes ideas for your homeschool study.

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Manatee Summer

Evan Griffith

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Length: 288 pages
First Published: 2023

Manatee Summer Book

View on Amazon | View on Goodreads


Publisher’s Description: Manatee Summer

“Peter and his best friend, Tommy, have a goal for their last summer before middle school: finish their Discovery Journal, a catalog of the wildlife around their Florida town.

When they spot a manatee in a canal, Peter knows they’ve found something special—and when the manatee is injured by a boat, something to protect!

As Peter joins the fight to save Florida manatees, he also finds himself taking care of his ailing grandfather and facing an unwelcome surprise that jeopardizes his friendship with Tommy.

Soon Peter is adrift, navigating shifting tides and realizing that he has as much to discover about himself as he does about the world around him.”


My Goodreads Review

Peter and Tommy are best friends and they have big plans for their last summer before middle school. Unfortunately, the summer begins to spiral downhill quickly for Tommy.

Not only is he taking care of his ailing grandfather, but he finds out that Tommy has been hiding the fact that he is moving this summer. All of this is happening while Tommy is trying to help an injured manatee he found near his home.

In the midst of it all, Tommy will learn more about navigating the storms of life while remaining connected to himself and others.

I absolutely adored this book. First, I appreciated that the friendship situation was focused on two middle school-age boys. I see a lot about friendship between girls so this was refreshing. The main male character was also learning to navigate BIG feelings, which I also read a lot about books involving girls so this is such a great perspective.

The main character in this book is struggling with losing his Papa to Alzhemier’s, losing his best friend to a move, losing his mom to more work hours, and potentially losing the manatee he is trying to rescue. But in the midst of it all, he is learning about the beauty of human connection, facts about animal rescue, and handling big emotions.

I enjoyed discussing this book in my middle school book club. It was a ton of fun and we had a great conversation about themes.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


Find Manatee Summer discussion questinos and book review you can use for your homeschool study.

Manatee Summer: Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study

1. Look back at the opening chapter. Why do you think the author began the story with this chapter?

2. Describe Peter’s relationship with his Papa. How are things changing and why is it so hard for him? What advice would you give Peter?

3. Tommy and Peter are close friends but they are both hiding something from the other person. What are they hiding and why? How does this affect their friendship?

For more ideas to discuss this book with your kids (including the book’s theme), check out my book chat:


Homeschooling With Books: Discussion Questions To Help You Get Started

Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate a great discussion about any book with your kids:

Grab a free copy of discussion questions for any book.

Find the best fiction books for 11-13 year olds on this list. These books are great for your middle school child.

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