Illustrations © Maira Kalman (cover art)

Maxi's Secrets(or, what you can learn from a dog)

by Lynn Plourde Illustrated by Maira Kalman (cover art) Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin

To be honest, I never dreamed of getting a dog. Maxi was a bribe from my parents.

Timminy is moving to a new town and going to a new school for grades 5-8, where he's the shortest kid at the school and where his dad is the new assistant principal. No wonder his parents get him a dog as a "bribe!" But Timminy and his parents get more than they bargain for. Their new Great Pyrenees puppy Maxi (short for Maxine) is large, lively, and lovable, but also DEAF. While Timminy is busy feeling sorry for himself after getting teased at school and shoved into lockers, Maxi and their next door neighbor Abby who's blind show Timminy that you don't have to be just like everyone else to "fit in." But will Timminy learn that lesson along with all the other secrets to life Maxi tries to teach him?


International Literacy Association's Teachers Choice 2017 Reading List
Maine State Student Book Award Winner 2018

Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award 2018-2019 Winner in the Intermediate Category

Nebraska Golden Sower 2019 Chapter Book Winner

Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award 2017-2018 Finalists (2nd place-gr. 3-5 list)

Kentucky Bluegrass Award 2017-2018 Master List

Missouri Mark Twain Readers Award 2018-2019 Preliminary Nominee List

Massachusetts Children's Book Award Nominee 2019-2020


The characters are fully developed, and the delicate subjects of bullying and disabilities are dealt with deftly and with humor. The story would make a great read-aloud, as Plourde has created humorous and believable characters that readers will be cheering for . . . VERDICT: A novel that will have wide appeal to dog lovers and those looking for a feel-god tale of overcoming adversity.
School Library Journal

This story is a tender reminder that perceived shortcomings don't define us and that the power of friendship can't be underestimated.
Publishers Weekly

Perfect for reading aloud, any middle-level or younger student, especially dog lovers, will adore this humorous, heartwarming story of overcoming adversity.
Voice of Youth Advocates

Pitch-perfect in every way and peppered throughout with wisdom, humor and a colorful cast of characters, Maxi's Secrets is a must-read.
Books to Borrow, Books to Buy

Plourde's skillful blend of humor, pathos, and wisdom creates a story that begs to be shared with middle-grade students, who will fall in love with a deaf dog, her steadfast owner, and the rest of the characters who populate the novel. More than just another "dead dog" book, this is a story of love and friendship that deserves to join the ranks of other unforgettable canines and their owners.


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