Knows he is dying,
losing body control, bit by bit –
and finally finding friends who don’t care?
Have a hankie at hand when you read Abe’s determination to get the last word over the ALS that’s attacking his 17 year old body and his almost-too-late joy in meeting peers who look past his condition to help him when he needs it most.
Read the first chapter free at the publisher’s website here (scroll down to Excerpt), then discover the rest of this Japanese teen’s story at your local library or favorite independent bookstore in hardcover or paperback.
What would you do to help a friend?
Book info: The Last Leaves Falling / Sarah Benwell (or Fox Benwell). Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback) [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
We depend on our smartphones
which depend on tantalum found in coltan
whose mining destroys families – human and gorilla!
Why does corporate greed incite kidnapping and environmental catastrophe in the Congo and elsewhere?
How can we individuals make it stop, save children like Imara and Bobo from being kidnapped and enslaved to mine coltan, protect habitat for gorillas?
This middle-grade novel reminds us how interconnected we are and how our unthinking consumer choices can drastically affect others.
When is a smartphone a dumb choice?
Book info: Gorilla Dawn / Gill Lewis; illustrated by Susan Meyer. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017 hardcover, May 2018 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
B is for battles fought honorably,
for being merciful to wounded enemies,
for being human in wartime.
Borrowman’s research reveals the true stories of men and women who saw past the label of “enemy” to behave with honor during the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I and onward to Vietnam and Iraq.
A British rifle inventor refuses to shoot George Washington in the back during the Revolutionary War.
Rudi, an ordinary German boy who defied Hitler’s SS recruiters, was saved by a Nazi prison guard.
What other true stories of compassion to enemies do you know?
Book info: Compassionate Soldier: Remarkable True Stories of Mercy, Heroism, and Honor From the Battlefield / Jerry Borrowman. Shadow Mountain Publishing, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Why does she have to run the household instead of writing?
And keep their Underground Railroad stop functioning (and secret)?
And discern a suitor’s true nature without her mother’s guidance?
Yes, this is that Louisa May, author of Little Women and Little Men, as a teen tasked with keeping house for her sisters and philosopher father during the summer when her mother worked away from home to support the family, rather than writing.
MacColl’s historical fiction about literary women, like Emily Dickinson in Nobody’s Secret (my recommendation here), is worth adding to your list.
Which author or poet would you like to read more about?
Book info: The Revelation of Louisa May: a Novel of Intrigue and Romance / Michaela MacColl. Chronicle Books, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.