Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.
While not as old as many of the books that I have recommended for Throwback Thursday (this one was published in 2000) this book has many honors attached to it. Esperanza Rising was named an ALA Notable Children’s book in 2002, a YALSA Best Books for Young Adults in 2001, and the Pura Belpre Award in 2002. This is a great read for middle-grade children who are interested in historical fiction, and particularly those with in interest in the Great Depression.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J RYAN.
Paper Things – Jennifer Jacobson
Paper Things is a thrilling novel by Jennifer Jacobson that tells the life of a nineteen-year-old Gage and his younger sister being homeless for six weeks. When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So, when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she must go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been “couch surfing,” staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama?
This novel will engender empathy and understanding of a serious and all-too-real problem. Jacobson’s story is poignant but never preachy. — School Library Journal
Paper Things by Jennifer Jacobson is a heart-touching novel and is originally published on February 10, 2015. Paper Things is a Rebecca Caudill 2019 nominee and has won several awards such as, the ILA Social Justice Literature Award for Fiction winner, and Hudson Bookseller’s Best of Summer 2015. I would recommend Paper Things to a reader that is looking for a thrilling novel.
~Vishnu, Teen Blogger
You can find Paper Things on the Rebecca Caudill shelf during the 2018-19, and in the Juvenile Fiction section at J JACOBSEN.
GHOST – Jason Reynolds
Ghost is a young adult novel by Jason Reynolds which follows seventh-grader Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw as he joins a track team and struggles to deal with his past and his present. Ever since his father went to jail, Castle Cranshaw’s life suddenly switched directions. He was behind in school, always in trouble, and didn’t have the money for essential needs. One day, when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race-and wins- the Olympic medalist track coach sees that he has something: crazy natural talent. Only with the dreams of playing ball, he unexpectedly joined the track team. Ghost doesn’t only get bullied in school for not having good clothes, but also on his track team (Defenders). Mainly because he doesn’t have running shoes. He then steals a pair of shiny sliver running shoes to shut down all the bullies. Eventually, coach finds out and plans to tell Ghost’s mother. Until he started begging not to. All the trouble-making, all the stealing, and all the bullying comes down to this one point in Ghost’s life. The first track meet of the season. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?
Ghost by Jason Reynolds originally published on August 30, 2016, is one of the finalists for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Ghost is also the first book in Jason Reynolds’s explosive Track series about a fast but fiery group of kids who have a shot at the Junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first-to each other, and to themselves. I would recommend this book to readers that are searching for a thriller, as well as meaningful book in their lives.
Another poignant, engaging, exciting novel that combines middle school, sports, and life lessons from Coretta Scott King Honor author Jason Reynolds – commonsensemedia.org
~Vishnu S., Teen Blogger
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J REYNOLDS.
Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
This is a classic that isn’t as old as most that we have featured- it was published in 1996 and won the Newbery Award. Still this heartwarming tale about being kind, civil, and inclusive is undoubtedly a classic. My favorite part of the book was that it was written from multiple perspectives which allowed me to feel as though I was getting to know each of the students. This is perfect for upper elementary school readers who enjoy realistic fiction, and for those who enjoyed the recent Newbery winner Hello Universe by Erin Kelly Entrada.
You can find The View from Saturday in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KONIGSBERG.
After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the wilderness, learning to survive initially with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents’ divorce.
First published in 1987, this book has made countless school reading lists and was an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book in 1988. You can’t look away from this book as Brian struggles to survive on his own. This is a gripping adventure story, and is most suitable for those older children who have moved past the I Survived series by Tarshis.
You can find Hatchet in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PAULSEN.
A baby girl washes ashore in a tiny skiff. She is found and given the name Crow. As Crow grows, she becomes increasingly curious about many things. Where did she come from? Why is there a light burning on a supposedly deserted island? Is a famed pirate treasure hidden nearby? If you are interested in finding the answers to these questions and more, read Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J WOLK.
Road Trip is a fictional novel about a spontaneous road trip to rescue a Border Collie puppy. On the way, a father and his son end up inviting many other people on board, all ready to adopt an adorable puppy, and embark on an exciting journey. On this humorous and adventurous journey, the group faces many challenges on the highway, making the Border Collie pup seem farther and farther away. The main characters include a father who spontaneously does everything, his son who is fed up with his father, a Border Collie named Atticus who notices everything, and many other interesting characters with intriguing backstories revealed throughout the novel.
I enjoyed this novel because it is humorous, and not sad or scary. It was a quick read (114 pages) but an amazing story. My favorite parts of the book was Atticus’ point of view. He thinks he is not a dog, and realizes things before the humans do. His sections were interesting, but also summed up what had happened in the previous chapter, making me think about it differently. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys dogs, humor and road trips.
~Elizabeth, Teen Blogger
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PAULSEN.
For this Throwback Thursday you should check out Little Women by Louisa May Alcott!
Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in mid-nineteenth-century New England.
First published in 1868, 150 years ago, this book has truly become a classic. It has also been adapted in a movie. This classic is great for anyone who likes stories about sisters and growing up.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J ALCOTT.
Hoping to win a cash prize in a pizza eating contest after racking up a tab on his mother’s credit card, David must juggle his competitive eating training with the responsibility of looking after his autistic younger brother.
This book has it all – suspense, friendship, and horrifyingly gross descriptions of competitive eating. It addresses David’s feelings of being the ‘forgotten’ middle child in his family without ever losing the humor that is necessarily part the book as David works to stretch his stomach and win a competitive eating contest in order to pay back his mom. I winced a little every time he decided to hide his mistake and lie a little more but that situation certainly added to the suspense of the story – you’ll want to know whether or not David can win right from the beginning!
You can find Slider in the Juvenile Fiction section at J HAUTMAN.
As further evidence of his family’s bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.
I read the book well before the movie was released but I am always happy to recommend this book and the movie! This is a fun adventure story that focuses on a friendship that grows to include all of the boys who are prisoners of a terrible correctional camp in Texas. This book is also quite the award winner – Newbery Medal, Illinois’ Rebecca Caudill Award in 2002, and an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book in 1999. Published in 1998, this book is not as old as some that I recommend but it is certainly a classic.
You can find it in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SACHAR.