Ebo is alone. His brother, Kwame, has disappeared, and Ebo knows it can only be to attempt the hazardous journey to Europe, and a better life, the same journey their sister set out on months ago. But Ebo refuses to be left behind in Ghana. He sets out after Kwame and joins him on the quest to reach Europe. Ebo’s epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his family.
As the author notes although Illegal is a work of fiction all of the different portions of it are true, and events similar to what happen to Ebo happen to children, teens, and adults each day. This graphic novel is a compassionate look at the plight of refugees and immigrants. Readers will gain empathy for Ebo as the novel does not shy away from the terrible events that happen to him but his positive outlook lessens the overwhelming nature of the tragedies. The graphic novel would be an excellent teaching tool- to combine with history lessons or current events. Readers who enjoy graphic novel memoirs or graphic novel nonfiction such as Spinning by Walden or March by Lewis should check out this book.
You can find Illegal by Eoin Colfer in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC COLFER.
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.
For this Throwback Thursday I recommend: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.
None of her classmates pay much attention to Wanda Petronski, a Polish-American girl, until she announces she has 100 dresses in her closet. Everyone laughs and teases her so much that she stops coming to school. Then, her classmates discover she really does have 100 dresses and discover something about teasing and themselves.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is the tale of a young girl, Wanda, who is bullied by her classmates for wearing the same dress each day to school. Wanda tells her peers that she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows that it is not true. As a result, Wanda is bullied even more. One day, Wanda is pulled out of the school and the class begins to feel terrible for their behavior toward her. Maddie, a student from Wanda’s class, decides that she needs to take a stand so no classmate is bullied ever again. If you like stories that are heart-felt and teach a lesson, then The Hundred Dresses is for you!
This classic story first published in 1944 was a Newbery Honor Book in 1945, and can be found in the Juvenile Fiction section at J ESTES.
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions and the topic of India is permanently closed. For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film.
This lovely graphic novel follows teenager Priyanka as she deals with her curiosity about her mother’s past in India. The way that Chanani uses color makes for a striking read; the everyday scenes are depicted in sharp black and white with bright colors saved for the fantastical world that only exists when Priyanka puts on the pashmina. Priyanka grows throughout the graphic novel as she discovers more about her mother’s past and about India. This is a good tale of self-discovery.
You can find Pashmina in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHANANI.
With the new school year approaching, I recommend reading It Ain’t So Awful Falafel, by Firoozeh Dumas.
Zomorod Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name–Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home.
I picked this book up because I saw that it took place in the 1970’s which I thought would make for a fun setting. Zomorod, or Cindy’s, family is from Iran but they love living in America. Even though Cindy is from Iran, she’s just a kid trying to fit in and make friends, like a lot of us. The historical events, like revolts taking place at that time in Iran, made me want to do a little research on Iran and American relations. A little bit of humor and a little bit of history make this an appealing read!
Find it in our Juvenile Fiction collection under J DUMAS.