The Cholo Tree

Recovering from a shooting and stereotyped as a Chicano gangbanger, fourteen-year-old Victor Reyes loves reading books, has a genius girlfriend and an art teacher who mentors and encourages him to apply to art schools, but Victor cannot seem to overcome society’s expectations for him.

The Language Inside

Raised in Japan, American-born tenth-grader Emma is disconcerted by a move to Massachusetts for her mother’s breast cancer treatment, because half of Emma’s heart remains with her friends recovering from the tsunami.

This book has been included in WOW’s Language and Learning: Children’s and Young Adult Fiction Booklist. For our current list, visit our Booklist page under Resources in the green navigation bar.

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

Thirteen-year-old Henry’s happy, ordinary life comes to an abrupt halt when his older brother, Jesse, picks up their father’s hunting rifle and leaves the house one morning. What follows shatters Henry’s family, who are forced to resume their lives in a new city, where no one knows their past. When Henry’s therapist suggests he keep a journal, at first he is resistant. But soon he confides in it at all hours of the day and night.

In spite of Henry’s desire to “fly under the radar,” he eventually befriends a number of oddball character, both at school and in his modest apartment building. And even though they know nothing about his past–at least, not yet–they help him navigate the waters of life after “IT.”

Beneath A Meth Moon

Laurel Daneau has moved on to a new life, in a new town, but inside she’s still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother after Hurricane Katrina washed away their home. Laurel’s new life is going well, with a new best friend, a place on the cheerleading squad and T-Boom, co-captain of the basketball team, for a boyfriend. Yet Laurel is haunted by voices and memories from her past.

When T-Boom introduces Laurel to meth, she immediately falls under its spell, loving the way it erases, even if only briefly, her past. But as she becomes alienated from her friends and family, she becomes a shell of her former self, and longs to be whole again. With help from an artist named Moses and her friend Kaylee, she’s able to begin to rewrite her story and start to move on from her addiction.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 3

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917

On December 6, 1917 two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One ship was loaded top to bottom with munitions and one held relief supplies, both intended for wartorn Europe. The resulting blast flattened two towns, Halifax and Dartmouth, and killed nearly 2,000 people. As if that wasn’t devastating enough, a blizzard hit the next day, dumping more than a foot of snow on the area and paralyzing much-needed relief efforts. Fascinating, edge-of-your-seat storytelling based on original source material conveys this harrowing account of tragedy and recovery.

The Scar

When his mother dies, a little boy is angry at his loss but does everything he can to hold onto the memory of her scent, her voice, and the special things she did for him, even as he tries to help his father and grandmother cope.

More Than You Can Chew

Marty Black has retreated from a difficult family situation into the area she can best control, her own appetites. She may not be able to control her parents’ behavior, but she can decide what she will and will not eat. Eventually, she stops eating altogether. Marty is close to death when she finally asks for help and finds herself in a psychiatric institution. But recognizing her need for help is only the first tenuous step on a long road to recovery. Marty’s ability to find a way to live, despite the powerful lure of anorexia, is the core of this novel.