Ten-year-old Della, short for Delicious, just got an ampersand tattoo on her wrist and her frouth grade teacher gives her the look, the same look many might tend toward, but Della has a story to tell you. It is vital that you listen, vital that you don't turn away from her, because the story of what happened to her is ugly, but she is not. It isn't an easy story; her mother is in prison, her sister Suki - who is her person, providing for and protecting Della - has secrets of her own that are tearing her apart. Della and Suki's foster mom, Francine, is the kind of woman who might just be able to help, and soon they find themselves with friends, people who ease the stories out by assuring the girls that their stories do not taint them. If the subject matter of this book makes you uncomfortable, it should, but Della and Suki are much more than what happened to them, and Fighting Words is a powerful path to opening this conversation.
When Nnmadi's father, the police chief of a town in Nigeria, is murdered, Nnmadi vows to exact revenge, but what is a twelve-year-old boy to do? Desperate for answers, he follows a mysterious man into the shadows of the night and is given the Ikenga, an ancient statue that gives Nnmadi great strength, but with the Ikenga come only the instructions that he must be calm and focused when using its powers. Quickly Nnamadi learns that making the world better is more complex than it seemed, and responsibility walks with power. An intimate, exciting vision of modern Nigeria and what it means to come of age all wrapped up in a wonderful adventure story for kids who love superheroes!
Take the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, place it in the Bronx in 2020, add the post-traumatic stress of having survived two catastrophic hurricanes in Puerto Rico and an imaginary friend/demon who takes toxic love to a whole new level, and you enter the world of Rivera’s new book. Prepare, however, to encounter both the best of literary traditions and the richness of that retelling steeped in the folktales of Afro-Caribbean myth with some solid feminist twists to remind young women who, ultimately, will save them. There is something in this for every young adult!
Read all the non-fiction about the school to prison pipeline. It's important to know the facts about what is happening to so many children of color in this moment, but to really understand, to feel the confusion, self-doubt, crushing anger, the debilitating pain of what it means to try so hard and be constantly told it is not enough, that you are not enough, read Dear Justyce. We met Quan in Dear Martin, but in this book we come to know his struggles and the unrelenting racism that narrows his choices until the thin line he walks leads to incarceration. But hope lives in these pages as well, in believing in people we have been told to discard. Through her beautiful, powerful writing, Stone grants you access to Quan's world; open your heart and destroy this pipeline.
Prepare to hand your heart, in all of its beauty and kindness, to Omar, his brother Hassan, and all of the characters you are about to meet in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. Omar and his brother escaped war-torn Somalia after their father was killed, losing their mother in the process. They make it to the refugee camp and Omar takes care of Hassan, who has a seizure disorder and does not speak. Omar struggles to maintain hope and love in incredibly difficult circumstances, but the power of this book is the intricate portrayals of the people: Jeri, Omar's best friend whose father succumbs to dispair; Nimo and Maryam, who struggle to get an education and keep their dreams alive; and Fatuma, who fosters the boys, loves them, and allows Omar to make his own decisions. In all of this waiting, poverty, and hunger, community lifts Omar so that he can return and help them. Beautiful, hopeful, and important book!
Beautiful, empowering book for those who can't always find their voices right when they want to or when they think they should. Despite the frightening darkness of being unable to speak, the future holds light and hope for such thoughtful souls. This is an incredibly important book and will make a wonderful gift for many an adult as well as children.