Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden

Bestselling author Andrew Larsen brings a light touch and gentle humor to this picture book story about several kinds of growth — of the boys and their friendship, the flowers in the newly thriving lot, and the community that comes together around it. Award-winning artist Anne Villeneuve’s illustrations add a visual layer to the storytelling as they show the transformation from mostly gray to vibrant color, both literally, in the blossoming garden, and figuratively, in the now engaged neighborhood. This book highlights the value of connecting to nature, even in urban areas, and the sense of community that comes from civic engagement. It’s an excellent choice for character education lessons on kindness, generosity and citizenship.

The Promise

On a mean street in a mean, broken city, a young girl tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But the frail old woman, holding on with the strength of heroes, says the thief can’t have it without giving something in return: the promise. It is the beginning of a journey that will change the thieving girl’s life — and a chance to change the world, for good.

Join the discussion of The Promise as well as other books centered around relocation on our My Take/Your Take page.

Ball Don’t Lie

Sticky is a beat-around-the-head foster kid with nowhere to call home but the street, and an outer shell so tough that no one will take him in. He started out life so far behind the pack that the finish line seems nearly unreachable. He’s a white boy living and playing in a world where he doesn’t seem to belong.But Sticky can ball. And basketball might just be his ticket out . . . if he can only realize that he doesn’t have to be the person everyone else expects him to be.A breakout urban masterpiece by newcomer Matt de la Peña, Ball Don’t Lie takes place where the street and the court meet and where a boy can be anything if he puts his mind to it.

The Spring Tone

Plagued by headaches and nightmares, Tomomi tries to make sense of her grandmother’s death, her little brother’s obsession with saving sick and abandoned cats, and her fear that she is becoming a monster.