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.
Left alone on a beautiful but isolated island, a young Indian girl spends eighteen years, not only merely surviving through her enormous courage and self-reliance, but also finding a measure of happiness in her solitary life.
Originally published in 1960, this classic novel was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1961. This book has also been a part of the Battle of the Books program at the Bartlett Public Library. This story of survival and resiliency is great for late elementary school readers who enjoyed books such as Hatchet by Gary Paulsen or Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J ODELL.
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.
Donut’s father is tragically killed in an automobile accident and now her Aunt wants to take her from the small Vermont town where she grew up and bring her to Boston. Donut refuses to go with her Aunt and runs away to an abandoned hunting cabin where she and her friend Tiny plan on how to keep her home.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KALMAR.
While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack.
This classic novel was originally published in 1972, and was followed by two sequels Julie (in 1994) and Julie’s Wolf Pack (in 1997). The book was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1973. This book is for readers who enjoy adventure and survival stories as Julie (who prefers her Eskimo name Miyax) struggles to learn how to survive on the tundra by learning more about the wolf pack.
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J GEORGE.
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.
A year in the life of two young girls growing up on the Wisconsin frontier, as they help their mother with the daily chores, enjoy their father’s stories and singing, and share special occasions when they get together with relatives or neighbors.
This is the book that started the well known series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was first published in 1932. I loved this book as a kid, and first encountered it when my mother read it to me aloud. Laura is a protagonist who is easy to cheer for and it is touching to read about her as she grows up. This classic is a perfect choice for those who love historical fiction or are interested in pioneers.
You can find Little House in the Big Woods
and the rest of this series by Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Juvenile Fiction section at J WILDER.
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.
This story, told from the animal’s perspective, captures the struggles and triumphs of this magnificent creature from his early days as a free colt to an owned creature poorly treated by evil men.
First published in 1877, this classic tale told from the point of view of the horse really captures your attention. I loved horses as a kid and read every book I could find about them. This story is great for the horse lovers and anyone who enjoyed Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry or any of her other horse stories. This story was also adapted into two great movies, one from 1994 (my personal favorite) and one from 2014!
You can find Black Beauty in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SEWELL.
After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee’s life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries.
Published in 1990, this book by Jerry Spinelli was an American Library Association Children’s Notable Book in 1991 and won the Illinois Reader’s Choice – Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award in 1993. Readers who enjoy realistic fiction will love this classic!
You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SPINELLI.