Beartown

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

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.

Saint Death

On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he’s stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo’s help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past. Hovering over his story is the unsparing divinity Santa Muerte, Saint Death―and the relentless economic and social inequalities that haunt the border between Mexico and its rich northern neighbor.

The Bombs That Brought Us Together

Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark; no drinking; no litter; no fighting. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the people who run Little Town. When he meets Pavel Duda, a refugee from Old Country, the rules start to get broken. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes forever. Sometimes, to keep the people you love safe, you have to do bad things. As Little Town’s rules crumble, Charlie is sucked into a dangerous game. There’s a gun, and a bad man, and his closest friend, and his dearest enemy. Charlie Law wants to keep everyone happy, even if it kills him. And maybe it will . . . But he’s got to kill someone else first.

Diego’s Crossing

A young man is on a dangerous mission that will secure his future … or leave him dead. With all the suspense of a fast-paced movie, this gripping novel about Diego’s treacherous journey across borders, is also a moving story about a boy’s crossing into manhood.

Genocide (Groundwork Guides)

Some view the systematic killing, rape, and destruction of homes in Darfur as a grave humanitarian crisis. For others, it’s a clear example of the ultimate crime against humanity — genocide. Who is right? What is genocide? Who are the endangered human beings in today’s world? What is the impact on humanity of wiping out entire groups of people? This thoughtful book helps young readers understand these and other difficult questions. Providing an overview of the history of genocide worldwide, the book explores the paradox that while a person who murders another person can be tried and even executed for the crime, a person who murders hundreds or thousands of people usually goes free. Using case studies of acts of genocide throughout history, the book points out the unique character of each while at the same time establishing important links between them. Most importantly, the book answers the question, What can be done to prevent genocide from happening in the future?

Be The Change

In this breathtaking companion to the award-winning Grandfather Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, with Bethany Hegedus, tells a poignant, personal story of the damage of wastefulness, gorgeuously illustrated by Evan Turk. At Grandfather Gandhi’s service village, each day is filled, from sunrise to sunset, with work that is done for the good of all. The villagers vow to live simply and non-violently. Arun Gandhi tries very hard to follow these vows, but he struggles with one of the most important rules: not to waste. How can throwing away a worn-down pencil hurt anyone? How can wastefulness lead to violence? With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others. And in time he comes to understand the truth of his grandfather’s words: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Trouble The Water

In the segregated south of Kentucky in 1953, twelve-year-olds Callie, who is black, and Wendell, who is white, are brought together by an old dog that is clearly seeking something or someone, but they not only face prejudice, they find trouble at a haunted cabin in the woods.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 8, Issue 4