Tanya Guerrero's How to Make Friends with the Sea is a middle grade debut novel set in the Philippines about a young boy's challenges with anxiety while his mother fosters an orphaned child with a facial anomaly.
Pablo is homesick.
He’s only twelve years old, but he’s lived in more countries than he can count. After his parents divorced, he and his mother have moved from place to place for years, never settling anywhere long enough to call it home. And along the way, Pablo has collected more and more fears: of dirt, of germs, and most of all, of the ocean.
Now they’re living in the Philippines, and his mother, a zoologist who works at a local wildlife refuge, is too busy saving animals to notice that Pablo might need saving, too. Then his mother takes in Chiqui, an orphaned girl with a cleft lip—and Pablo finds that through being strong for Chiqui, his own fears don’t seem so scary.
He might even find the courage to face his biggest fear of all…and learn how to make friends with the sea.
I studied the grains of rice on my plate, separating them into neat little piles with a fork.
Thirty-one grains. Exactly one month since we moved to the Philippines.
Five grains. Five years had passed since the...
Praise for How to Make Friends with the Sea
"Guerrero touches on many topics—anxiety, fostering, friendship, family, selective mutism, and more—seamlessly weaving them all together to create a strong, moving narrative. [...] A heartbreaking, heartwarming, powerful debut novel." — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
"A story for anyone who's ever asked where—and what—home is." — Jack Cheng, author of See You in the Cosmos
"How to Make Friends with the Sea is a heartwarming story about family, friendship, identity and finding courage within our own hearts. I know readers will have as much fun cheering for Pablo as I did." — Dan Gemeinhart, author of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
"Touching and sweet, Tanya Guerrero’s debut How to Make Friends with the Sea is a multi-layered story with heaps of heart. Readers will root for Pablo as he finds his courage, voice, and family on this journey to self-acceptance." — Elly Swartz, author of Finding Perfect and Give and Take
"Atmospheric and moving, How to Make Friends with the Sea is an impressive debut. The friendship between Pablo and Chiqui completely captured my heart." — Jasmine Warga, author of Other Words for Home