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.
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.
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.
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.
When a royal messenger shows up at their shop looking for her father, a once reknowned tailor, to become the new Imperial tailor, Maia decides to dress as a boy and take his place. You see, she is the best tailor in their shop, but only boys are allowed that title.
When she gets to the palace she discovers she is one of twelve tailors vying for the job. Soon she is dragged into a fierce battle for the title, and not everyone is playing fair. An unlikely ally, a reluctant bride and mysterious scissors all come into play, in this lush fantasy steeped in Chinese culture. Recommended for grades 7 and up.
Arturo is trying to save his family restaurant, and navigate his first crush without his two best friends who are away for the summer. When a slick developer comes to town and threatens the family restaurant can Arturo find the voice he needs to speak up? Can he find the words to tell Carmen how he feels about her? Or is he in for an epic fail? With fantastic characters, and wonderful story this book will steal your heart and have you rooting all the way for the Zamoras! Recommended for grades 5th and up.
Emika Chen is running out of options. Orphaned, poor and out of work, she is about to be evicted from her apartment when she accidentally hacks into the opening ceremonies of Warcross. Warcross is a multi-million dollar business and millions are watching when she glitches into the game. Instead of getting in trouble she embarks on a journey she could not have ever dreamed of. It isn't long before her heart and her life are on the line.
I loved this. Nonstop action, a fantastic hacker female protagonist with a conscience, loved the Warcross game concept, and life or death decisions. Twists and turns keep the plot interesting and great visual details make it easy to envision this world. Recommended for ages 11 and up.
This book takes place in a futuristic western United States 100 years after an alien race has invaded and colonized the planet. The Zhree aliens have chosen to share their technology with a small group of humans, while the remaining humans live in less than perfect conditions. It is in these unprotected areas that some humans are part of Sapience, a terrorist movement that aims to drive out the alien invaders. It is on a raid against suspected Sapience operatives that the main character, Donovan, a member of the Special Forces, finds himself kidnapped. Donovan is much more than just a Special Forces operative, he is the son of the Prime Liaison who is the highest ranking human in the government.
You are dropped right into the action, which is nonstop from the first paragraph. There is a lot of book related vocabulary introduced in the first few chapters, that takes some time to understand. Sensitive readers may object to the use of torture and derogatory slang. Deaths are numerous, but not graphic in nature. The plot struggles in some areas, but overall it is well done. It will leave you thinking about certain things long after you put it down. Appropriate for grades 7 up.