New Books About School, Friends, Family & Growing Up

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolotionist by Margarita Engle

Reading Level:  Ages 12 and up

This inspiring free verse novel is the fictionalized story of the early teen years of  Cuban poet/abollitionist Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-1873.)  At thirteen, Tula uses her poetry and plays to express her views about freedom, both for the slaves of Cuba and for the young girls who are sold into arranged marriages to the highest bidder.  In defiance of her family's wishes  Tula is determined to live a free life.  Other poems give added dimension as the reader hear from her supportive brother, the nuns who nuture Tula, her disgusted mother, and the freed slave who has not  had the courage to leave. Tula's is a beautiful and powerful story.

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Other books by Margarita Engle

Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamara Will Wissinger

Reading Level: Grades 2-4

It's obvious just from the cover that this book is going to be fun to read.  And it's all in poems so you can impress your teacher or your parents with your knowledge of different types of poems.  (Each one is labeled with the type of poem and at the back there's an explanation of what each type is.) The story is simple.  Sam has been looking forward to a father-son fishing trip, but then his pesky little sister horns in.  Tamera Will Wissinger's first book will have you hooked.

 

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Cameron and the Girls by Edward Averett

Reading Level: Grades 7 - 10

Cameron has schiophreniform disorder, a form of schizophrenia.  At fourteen, he decides he's old enough to make the decision to go off his meds.   Without medication Cameron hears voices.  He hears The Professor who gives good solid advice.  Then there's The Girl who is everything Cameron could want in a relationship except that she's not real.  Then a new voice called The Other Guy tells Cameron to be more macho and take risks.  When a girl in his special ed class shows an interest in Cameron an unusual love triangle develops. 

 

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