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Great Reads from Great Librarians
We Are Not Free by
Publication Date: 2020-09-01
Recommended by Jennifer Kawecki, School Librarian, Omaha Central High School. "We Are Not Free, is told from the perspectives of fourteen friends who are placed in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Because of the many narrators and the different modes of writing (letters, poems, first-person narration, etc.) I became immersed the collective fears, disbelief, tensions, and reactions to racism and war the characters felt. The stories are heartbreaking, beautiful, and powerful. This is a valuable read."
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST From New York Times best-selling and acclaimed author Traci Chee comes "We Are Not Free," the collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II. Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco. Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted. Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps. In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by
Publication Date: 2020-03-10
Recommended by Angie Ralph, School Librarian, Benson HIgh School. "This conversational look at the history of slavery and the impact it has on our current society is excellent. It is easier to digest and understand than its root, Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram Kendi."
A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism--and antiracism--in America This is NOT a history book. This is a book about the here and now. A book to help us better understand why we are where we are. A book about race. The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives. Download the free educator guide here: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Stamped-Educator-Guide.pdf
Patron Saints of Nothing by
Publication Date: 2019-06-18
Recommended by Colleen Nieland, School Librarian, Omaha Northwest High School. "This book explores a teen's struggle to come to terms with his dual identity (American and Filipino). It addresses turmoil within families, immigration, belief systems, the war on drugs in the Phillipines, but it also shows the redeeming power of love and the importance of understanding through varying perspectives."
A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin's murder. Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story. Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth -- and the part he played in it. As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.
The Hate U Give by
Publication Date: 2017-02-28
Recommended by Cory McCune, School Librarian, Burke High School. "I really enjoyed this book as it gave me a new perspective from which to think about things that are happening in our world today. It put me in the shoes of a character who is probably very similar to many of our students and allowed me to understand where she was coming from."
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does--or does not--say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life. And don't miss On the Come Up, Angie Thomas's powerful follow-up to The Hate U Give.
Punching the Air by
Publication Date: 2020-09-01
Recommended by Colleen Nieland, School Librarian, Omaha Northwest High School. "A story about a 16-year old boy incarcerated for throwing a punch. This book provides a glimpse into our criminal justice system and makes you think even more of the racial injustices that some of our students face on the daily."
The story that I thought was my life didn't start on the day I was born. Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he's seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. "Boys just being boys" turns out to be true only when those boys are white." The story that I think will be my life starts today Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal's bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.
And a bonus picture book from the wonderful Deb Nichols:
The World Needs More Purple People by
Publication Date: 2020-06-02
Recommended by Deb Nichols, School Librarian, Blackburn High School and Teen Literacy Center. "Purple is a magic color, made when red and blue work together!" Now you might think this a political book but it is not (easily could be though). This is a guide for how to be the best YOU that anyone can be. Listening, laughing, working together to fix what needs fixing. In just 5 easy steps! Come on you can be a PURPLE Person too!
What is a purple person? Great question. I mean, really great! Because purple people always ask really great questions. They bring their family, friends, and communities together, and they speak up for what's right. They are kind and hardworking, and they love to laugh (especially at Grandpa's funny noises)! A purple person is an everyday superhero! How do you become one? That's the fun part! Penny Purple will lead you through the steps. Get ready to be silly, exercise your curiosity, use your voice, and be inspired. Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart have created a hilarious and joyous read-aloud that offers a wonderful message about embracing the things that bring us together as humans. This book will inspire a whole generation to paint the world purple!
Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).
Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).