Spud Sweetgrass

Suspended from school for cussing at a mean teacher, John “Spud”’ Sweetgrass at least still has his job selling french fries from a curbside “chip wagon.” But he notices that something stinks — literally. It’s the smell of rancid cooking oil at a polluted Ottawa beach. His suspicions aroused, Spud follows Dumper Stubbs, a creepy delivery man who services local restaurants and chip wagons. Spud gets angry when he sees Dumper living up to his name, dumping oil into a storm drain and causing terrible pollution in the river. When Spud blows the whistle, he loses his job. Enlisting the help of his buddy Dink the Thinker, and Connie Pan — whom he calls his girlfriend though she isn’t exactly that — Spud thinks he has a chance of regaining his job and stopping the Dumper’s harmful activities. In the background of this offbeat farce are serious issues that Spud must also deal with, including his father’s death, his mother’s withdrawal into grief, and his own awkward transition through adolescence. Brian Doyle expertly interweaves comedy and important contemporary concerns of young people in this vivid story with a message.

Nepantla: Essays from the Land in the Middle

As a Latina educator, poet, mother, lecturer, and native of El Paso, Texas, Pat Mora is a denizen of nepantla—a Nahuatl word meaning “the land in the middle.” In her first collection of essays, Mora negotiates the middle land’s many terrains exploring the personal issues and political responsibilities she faces as a woman of color in the United States. She explores both the preservation of her own Mexican American culture and her encounters with other cultures.

 

 

 

Star of Luis

When Luís’s father joins the army shortly after the start of World War II, Luís’s entire life changes. His mother decides to return to the dusty New Mexican village where she and her husband grew up. In Los Angeles, Luís had struggled to find a place in his ethnically diverse neighborhood and had been intimidated into ending a close friendship with a Jewish boy. In Las Manos, everyone is Hispanic and Catholic like Luís, but the way of life seems backward and slow. Luís and his mother stay in a cramped bungalow with his dying grandfather and sullen grandmother, and Luís must share a bed with his uncle, a priest. Then, just as Luís begins to feel more comfortable in Las Manos, he learns an settling fact-his family is not Catholic after all. They are Jewish, a secret that has been kept for generations. Angry and confused, Luís realizes he must confront his feelings about family, religion, and friends, and ultimately make his own decision about who he is. Glossary of Spanish words.

Necklace of Stars

Miguel was not lonely so much as he was curious. And, when he asked his father to tell him about the city beyond the mountains, he didn’t know what would happen. Now by the shore of the Emerald Lake he must choose between his world and another. High in the Andes, surrounded by giants, Miguel learns that even a boy can stand tall enough to reach the stars. Veronika Martenova Charles crafts a mystic tale, mixing dreams with reality, humility with grandeur, folk lore with history, and presents it with the clarity of a crisp mountain breeze.