This first one is exactly like that. It's called "The Spinner of Dreams" by K. A. Reynolds. It's about Annalise, who is 12 and was born cursed. Her left hand is twice the size of her right and it has a black broken heart on it. The people of the village know about the curse and are not happy to have someone cursed living in their midst, so her wonderfully kind and loving parents have built fences around the house to protect her but as she had grown bigger, her big hand had grown more powerful and the people of town more afraid of her. Her parents decide to get her a pet (since she doesn't have any friends) but when they go to the shelter, they find the perfect cat (one that can talk!) but it runs away before they can take it home. Annalise is bereft but has a bit of a revelation. She's going to go to the Fate Spinner and ask to have the curse removed. So, she leaves a note for her parents and sets out on an epic adventure. This magical adventure involves a magic cat (named Muse, can you think of a more perfect name for a cat?), a three legged fox, talking trees, a very angry and cursed sorceress, mythical and magical beasts, harrowing danger, and wild plot twists. There is also some very amazing writing and some of the best similes I've read in quite some time. (like this one - "she was as thirsty as a salted slug"). There are big themes of friendship, loyalty, and persistence. I adored Annalise and I was sorry when the book was over! And I can't say enough about what a great writer K. A. Reynolds is-more than once during the story, her beautiful words brought me to tears, including this amazing quote - "Never be sorry for showing the world who you are or who you wish to become...These struggles have brought you exactly where you need to be." Our kids need to hear messages like this over and over and over again. Make sure this one ends up in your library!
The second one is called "A Wolf Named Wander" by Rosanne Parry. It's based on a true story, but it's written from a wolf's point of voice, which is why it ended up in the speculative fiction pile rather than the realistic fiction pile. It's beautifully written in a voice that makes you wish you could actually be friends with the storyteller, who is a wolf named Swift. The story starts with Swift and his litter mates in the den and follows Swift's life as he becomes more independent but how tragically, he is separated from the rest of his pack. But he perseveres and makes a new life for himself. At the end of the book, there is information about the particular wolf that inspired the story, as well as some scientific information about wolves. I think the kids will like this one a lot. My students are really interested in the wolves and this story is really compellingly written-it's hard to put down! I think fourth grade and up will love this one.