The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin
I could be wrong, but I think the author or the main character should have spelled the cat's name "Zuke". Oona and her brother, Fred, name the cat after fried zucchini. Oona is almost like a small mother to her brother. Their father died two years previously and they are trying to adjust. Oona tries to keep the memories vivid for them by telling stories. Oona had perfected telling whoppers from her father. She even color codes her whoppers. Things change when their mom has a new boyfriend and when Zook gets very sick.
Oona has a lot of honest spirit. You will also notice the spirit of a close-knit diverse community. Oona thinks about a lot of things while trying to protect her brother from sad moments. She is a responsible ten-year-old girl who helps her five-year-old brother. She even teaches him to read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is Oona who finds her brother when he suddenly disappears. It is Oona who comes up with eight theories on storytelling. One of them is:
A story doesn't have to be true, but it does have to be real.
* Rebecca Caudill 2015 Nominee *