Nicola Yoon is incredible! In this gripping tale, an undocumented girl who has been living in the U.S. almost her whole life is about to be deported to Cuba with her family when she meets a first generation Korean-American boy who falls in love with her almost instantly. The book takes place on that one day, slowly unwinding their memories and stories and struggles as they get to know each other.
Everything, Everything, Yoon’s breakout hit, is just as wonderful. And the surprise ending will knock your students’ socks off.
This book is in every way compelling. There are many threads and themes bound up in the story, as it touches on border crossings, drug violence, mental health, cultural pressures, and much more.
Samira Ahmed shares this powerful story of a teen videographer dealing with prejudice in her high school and community following a local act of terrorism. The book intermingles her story with the story of the terrorist – what shaped him, what terrified him, and what compelled him. In every way, this book promotes understanding and empathy.
I also recommend Samira Ahmed’s novel, Internment, a dystopian tale set almost in the present day, in which Muslim-Americans are forced into camps. Internment is a more intense story with a similar theme of breaking down hate and fear.
Darius the Great is not OK features a Persian-American teen who visits Iran with his family when his grandfather is sick. Darius and his dad both struggle with depression, and at the start of the book, they don’t get along very well. Through the experiences he has on the trip, Darius begins to understand himself and his culture and history more, finds a best friend, and re-connects with his father. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Everything Jason Reynolds’ writes is amazing! I’m going to refer you to this blog post for a close-up look at four of his books and why they all deserve a place on your shelf. The Library of Congress didn’t name this prolific author their “Ambassador of Youth Literature” for nothing.
Finally, high on my TBR pile are Born a Crime, The Marrow Thieves, and Just Mercy. I just need a library to open so I can get them because my Amazon book orders have been extensive lately.
What wonderful titles would you add to this list? Please share in the comments below.
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