Ariel Goldberg is in middle school, dealing with friendship and learning challenges. Ariel is also dealing with family issues, as her beloved older sister Leah leaves home to marry Raj, the Indian man that she has fallen in love with. When Leah’s parents refuse to accept the marriage, Ariel realizes that it is through poetry that she is best able to communicate her feelings about all that is happening in her life.
This story takes place shortly after the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virgina in 1967 and is inspired by the author’s own family history.
Miriam and her family move from Manhattan to upstate New York to run a motel. Miriam is 11, and has two good friends she hates to leave back home. Upon arrival in her new town, Miriam meets a new friend, Kate and a cast of towns people who begin to make her feel welcome. This is a sweet summer friendship story which also deals with religion and tolerance. Miriam is Jewish and her new friend Kate is Catholic. Both these faiths are explored in this book as the girls grapple with a decision they make to help business at the struggling motel. This story is full of authentic characters and a wonderful summer setting.
Original poems from the Harlem Renaissance are used as the foundation for Grimes new poems in the beautiful poetry book, One Last Word, Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. Grimes brings the Harlem Renaissance right to the present with themes of injustice and unfulfilled promises and contemporary African-American illustrators are featured throughout this collection. The foreword includes a history of the Harlem Renaissance, and poet biographies. The poems are beautiful and the artwork more beautiful still.
Twelve-year-old Amal’s dreams of becoming a teacher are crushed when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village’s ruling family. Her punishment is to become a servant for the insulted family. As Amal navigates this new, harsh life, her unwavering courage keep her going. Amal’s sense of hope makes this ultimately an uplifting story. Anyone moved by Malala Yousafzai will love this beautifully written, suspenseful and empowering story.
For Grades 4 and up.
This book is available as an ebook and e-audio in OverDrive’s Digital Library.
Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant