Free Lunch is not an easy read. It is a unflinching and realistic memoir of poverty, abuse, and classism. Ogle first learned of the free lunch program in sixth grade, which is when he first went on it. With his mother and her boyfriend struggling to find regular work, Ogle often took care of his little brother, while navigating his mom's temperamental mood swings, his growling stomach and the scathing looks he received from teachers and students for his ill fitting clothes. When his mother refuses to let him try out for the football team because of the cost, he suddenly find himself without friends as well. However, despite everything that is stacked against him, Ogle manages to stay true to himself. Heart-rending, but poignant, this short memoir is a peek into the life that many of today's children are living. Add it to your list and read it! Recommended for 6th grade and up.
A haunting story about a young girl thrown into a detention center while awaiting deportation with her mother.
Betita loves the stories her father tells her about her people. It makes her feel strong and hopeful. When her father is arrested and deported, Betita is worried for him. They left Mexico to escape the drug cartels. Soon Betita and her mother find themselves in a detention center awaiting asylum or deportation. The detention center is horrendous, but Betita finds the hope within and lifts up others with her.
Truly ripped from the headlines storytelling, that is so difficult to read, but so important to be aware of. The power of story, the power of Betita is a not to miss book. Recommended grades 6 and up.
Amara has always wanted to visit Harlem, where her father grew up. She wants to walk the streets he walked at her age, and meet her grandfather and cousins that she has only ever spoken with on the phone. With the imminent arrival of a baby sister on the horizon, Amara knows time is running out for now. When her parents finally relent and let Amara accompany her father on a business trip, Amara is beyond excited.
When she gets to New York she discovers that her family and the city are not exactly as she imagined. For one thing, her father isn't speaking to her grandfather. Also, her cousin Ava doesn't exactly give her a warm reception. Amara realizes she is going to have to navigate more than just the city streets to learn her family history. A well-crafted story about discovering your family history and finding beauty and joy in the small things. You feel as if you are walking the streets of Harlem with Amara. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
Ever find that book that you can't put down? That book that makes you stay up far later than you should, knowing you are going to miserably tired in the morning, but you stay up to read it anyway, because you just need to know what is going to happen? Well The Inheritance Games is that book!
When a complete unknown is given their grandfather's entire inheritance - an inheritance worth billions, the Grayson family is completely blindsided. Avery Grambs is also blindsided - why was she named the heir and why does she have to live in his house with his entire family for a year before the fortune becomes hers? Danger, suspense, puzzles and twists galore will keep readers running to the books conclusion. While this is the first book in a new series, it does come to a conclusion at the end, while still leaving room for a sequel. Highly recommended for grades 7 and up.
A beautiful story about home and family as told by a young wolf who loses everything, but never gives up hope.
Swift is a wolf who yearns to be a leader, a hunter, but he is not the largest or strongest of his pack. He is, however, the fastest. When he joins his first hunt, he is tasked by his father, the Alpha male, to run ahead of the elk and turn them towards the waiting wolves. What he really wants is to help take down the elk. When his pack is later attacked by another larger pack, Swift is quickly separated from them and left to wander on his own. His journey takes him to many new places, before finding his new home.
A beautifully wrought book with lots of inner dialogue. The pacing moves quickly, and has you wondering what new challenge will be around the bend for the young wolf. Parry was inspired by the true story of a wolf named OR-7 in Oregon who traveled hundreds of miles from its original territory. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
For Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a chance for her to start over, to escape from what happened in Paris. While Celine is learning to love her new city, something or someone is viciously murdering young girls. When Celine meets Sebastien Saint Germain she is swept into his world of balls and soirees and is soon falling for him. But Sebastien is hiding something from Celine, something that may get her killed.
Set in 1872 this is an atmospheric vampire story with a little romance and a little mystery. The setting is interesting, and the story will sweep you up. Definitely a more mature book meant for 9th grade and up.
When Mia's family moves back to Vermont she breathes a sigh of relief to be away from Boston. When her mom tells her she needs to do two summer camps, one for her mind and one for her body, she chooses Warrior Camp and Launch Camp. In Launch Camp, she and her new friends are aiming to help her grandmother get her cricket farm successful, but something or someone is sabotaging it. She struggles more with Warrior Camp with bad memories from gymnastics surfacing as she grapples with something that happened in Boston. Part mystery, part friendship story this #metoo novel is all heart, Mia and her friends will make you smile and admire their bravery and creativity. Recommended for grades 5 and up.
Haunting and well crafted, this is the story of a young girl, Tea who is gifted with dark magic. Tea accidentally raises her brother from the dead, when her feelings of grief overwhelm her. With her newly discovered powers, Tea and her brother, Fox, are brought to a different land to learn the ways of the Asha so that she may fight the monstrous daeva that plague the country. But dark asha are feared, and rightfully so as they can control the monsters. The story starts slowly and builds towards a cliff hanger. Beautifully written with Asian mythology and cultural influence, the book weaves an intricate tale of a young girl trying to find her place. Recommended for grades 8 and up.