BCB How to Make Friends with the Sea



An #ownvoices middle-grade debut novel set in the Philippines about twelve-year-old Pablo’s challenges with anxiety while his mother fosters an orphaned child with a facial anomaly.

Twelve-year-old Pablo is homesick. Ever since his father left his mother, a zoologist who helps rehabilitate abused animals, they’ve moved from one side of the world to the other. Now they are residing in the Philippines, and his mother is charged to care for an orphaned child, Chiqui, who has an unrepaired cleft lip. As he and his mother adjust to having Chiqui in their lives, Pablo must face his ever-increasing anxiety. But as it turns out, in his efforts to help Chiqui, he learns a thing or two from her as well, even finding the courage to confront his lifelong and deep-seated fear of the sea. This very special middle-grade debut addresses issues of identity, mental health, appearance, friendship, and family.