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“Sunny and Oswaldo” by Nicole Melleby

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“Oswaldo is old and dirty and cranky. I don’t know why Dad likes him.” 

“He’s difficult,” her mom agreed. “But he’s family. They need each other, Sunny.” 

Sunny Swaroo is a playful, big-hearted girl who does NOT like cats, especially the cranky cat her dad brought home. Oswaldo is a scruffy, unfriendly cat who keeps Sunny up at night and never wants to play – he’d rather be with Sunny’s dad, who loves Oswaldo more than anything. When Oswaldo doesn’t come home one night, Sunny is thrilled, but her dad is devastated. Will they find Oswaldo – and can Sunny and Oswaldo ever learn to get along? 

 Nicole Melleby, author of acclaimed novels such as The Science of Being Angry, How to Become a Planet, and the Lamda Literary finalist Hurricane Season, has been widely praised for her portrayal of the emotional lives of middle graders. Now, in her debut picture book, Melleby brings her trademark empathetic storytelling to the youngest readers in Sunny and Oswaldo. Vibrant, expressive illustrations from Alexandra Colombo effortlessly charm in this moving story of friendship, family, and the power of empathy. 

Melleby gently introduces young readers to a discussion on mental health: Oswaldo is a clever representation of Sunny’s dad’s depression. Sunny and Oswaldo’s story will help young readers learn that sometimes kids, cats, and grown-ups can feel sad, angry, and alone – but with love and support, families can understand and take care of each other. Oswaldo can sometimes drive Sunny away – but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good cat. 

“A lot of times people treat depression as an adult issue, but it’s not–kids are just as affected, in a number of different ways,” said Melleby. “When I sat down to write Sunny and Oswaldo, I wanted to try and have some of those conversations in an accessible way. Plus, who doesn’t love a cranky, stinky cat?” 

Colombo’s sweet, energetic illustrations combined with Melleby’s expert approach to social-emotional storytelling will have readers falling in love with Sunny and the delightfully scruffy cat, Oswaldo, and will spark conversations with little ones on emotional health and what makes a family.

You can purchase “Sunny and Oswaldo” by Nicole Melleby on Amazon today.

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