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Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano

Reading Level: Grades 8 and older

Sonia Manzano, otherwise known as Maria on Sesame Street, tells the story of her childhood in the Bronx. Detailing everything from her mysteriously appearing older sister, through her father's drunken rages, to her first roll on Broadway, Sonia's story is not for younger, or more sensitive readers.

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Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog by Luis Carlos Montalván, Bret Witter

Reading Level: Ages 3 -10

Tuesday the service dog describes a day in his life helping his disabled veteran handler.

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Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox

Reading Level: Grades K - 4

Elizabeth the elephant seal lived in a park in the middle of a busy city. The residents all loved her, but drivers did not because she had a tendency to take naps in the middle of the road. Eventually the government decided that Elizabeth needed to be relocated to an elephant seal colony well away from the city where she would be happy. However, Elizabeth had a different opinion about what would make her happy.

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Enrique's Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario

Reading Level: grade 7 & up

Pulitzer Prize winning author, Sonia Nazario had adapted her adult book for teens.  It's the story of sixteen-year-old Enrique whose mother left her children in Honduras to come to the U.S. 12 years earlier with the promise she would return. When she doesn't, Enrique decides he will go to his mother.  The journey is fraught with danger as he rides the tops of trains while hiding from the authorities, thugs, and bandits.  Enrique's journeys across Central America and Mexico are a study in determination and the strength of love.  His story will give readers a new perspective on illegal immigration and some things to think about.  WARNING;  Nazario does not gloss over beatings, rapes, maimings, and even murder. 


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Jackie Robinson: American Hero by Sharon Robinson

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 4

It's not that there's a lack of books about the racial barrier-breaking sports hero.  This biography, written by his daughter Sharon, is different.  Yes, this book about the racial divide in baseball and how Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play in the major leagues.  It also gives a clear and interesting picture of his early years, his family life, his career in the military, and his life after baseball.  Family photos throughout this short biography add that personal touch.  Sharon Robinson has every reason to be proud of her father and her work.

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