Hello from Renn Lake

Available in Hardcover & Audio Book

Twelve-year old Annalise Oliver, abandoned as a baby in a small Wisconsin town, has a unique bond with Renn Lake—she’s able to sense and feel the lake’s thoughts. And Renn has always been a source of comfort and calm for Annalise, especially when she’s upset or sad.

Annalise loves working alongside her adoptive parents, whose family has owned and run cabins along the lake for generations. But when a harmful algal bloom develops and the lake is closed, the town suffers, and even worse, Annalise can no longer hear Renn.

While the authorities debate about what to do, Annalise grows frustrated. Her sister Jess is focused only on her desire to become an actor, and her parents are dealing with numerous canceled reservations. Finally, Annalise can’t wait any longer—Renn is dying. After she and her friends—take-charge Maya and science nerd Zach—learn about an innovative nature-based treatment for harmful algal blooms, they take a risk to save the lake. But this means that Annalise must confront her deepest fears and most troubling questions. There are secrets about the night she was left, and Renn Lake was the only witness.

With a group of determined kids taking the lead, a community comes together to help heal its beloved lake. Narrated in the perspectives of Annalise and Renn Lake, this meaningful, impactful story makes us realize that nature has a voice, and we must listen to it.

Intertwined with Renn’s unique narration and a meaningful human-nature connection, Hurwitz’s book intersperses scientific facts with a story of activism and nature appreciation.
Publishers Weekly
Touching on a variety of social issues, including adoption, gender identity, religious identity, families, and water ecology…a solid addition to middle grade collections.
School Library Journal
An earnest and disarming tale of human and environmental caring.
Kirkus Reviews
A meaningful and endearing story in this time when our planet needs us the most. A must-read.
—Graham Salisbury, author of the award-winning Under the Blood-Red Sun
With great poignancy and a gentle hand, Hello from Renn Lake illuminates the deep connection between people and nature.
—Ami Polonsky, author of Gracefully Grayson and Threads


Winner of the 2021 Nature Generation Green Earth Book Award for Children’s Fiction
Nominated for South Carolina’s Children’s Book Award 2021-2022
Wisconsin State Reading Association “Just One More Page” 2021 Recommendation List


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Harmful algal blooms—which occur in bodies of water when blue-green algae grow out of control—have been on the rise due to climate change. The problem is related to warmer temperatures, extreme weather, and runoff—rain or melting snow that carries pollutants into lakes and rivers. Blooms can have many negative and sometimes dire effects on people, plants, fish, and animals, not to mention interdependent ecosystems and aquatic habitats. Some dogs have died after swimming in lakes that had harmful algal blooms. But promising efforts with plants placed atop the water that soak up the toxic algae have helped polluted waterways become healthy again.

For more information, check these sites

Algae in an Illinois pond.
Photo: Michele Weber Hurwitz

An algae bloom covering a small stream.
Photo: Michele Weber Hurwitz