In 1960, Cuba was a chaotic country, as the world watched Fidel Castro rise to power and institute reforms in bringing the nation into Communism. The middle grade novel Farewell Cuba, Mi Isla by Alexandra Diaz (Paula Wiseman Books, September 2023) tells the story of the wealthy Victoria and her cousin Jackie during this time.

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The middle grade novel We Still Belong by Christine Day (Heartdrum, August 2023) celebrates Indigenous People’s Day with Wesley Wilder, a girl with Native American heritage (Upper Skagit), as she heads to school for an exciting day. She can’t wait for the school population to see her poem in the school newspaper dedicated to her

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With my past experiences with American Sign Language (ASL) and brief experiences with the unique Deaf culture, I was captivated by the fresh perspective presented in the young adult novel Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino (G.P. Putnam and Sons for Young Readers, July 2023). This story revolves around Lilah, a hard-of-hearing teenager, who

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The middle-grade volume Native Americans in History by Jimmy Beason (Rockridge Press, 2021) shares the powerful stories of Native American leaders, artists, activists and athletes from history and today. The ninety-page volume is easily readable and nicely formatted for either reference or a straight readthrough. The fifteen people discussed receive about 5 pages of text

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The twin sisters Clara and Hailey in Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee (Simon & Schuster, 2016) are not your average 17-year-old twins. As conjoined twins, they are attached at the base of the spinal cord, and as such have never been apart. Their personalities could not be more different, though. And although their life has been

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Melody has a perfect memory and really wants to talk but she has cerebral palsy which means she can’t talk or walk! So she searches and finds a computer that can talk for her! She is so smart that she earns a spot on the quiz team! Written by C., age 9 Mom’s Thoughts Out

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Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011 National Book Award for Young People and Newbery Honor Award) is a novel in poetry about a young girl’s relocation to American from Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It is about the challenge of starting over and the pain of discrimination in a strange new country and

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Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas is an appropriate book for reading just before our country’s Independence Day. It focuses on a Japanese American family during the early part of World War II, when thousands of people of Japanese descent were relocated to special “camps”. The Japanese internment is not someting I

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Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is a powerful story about a rich and spoiled Mexican girl whose sudden impoverishment in the 1930s takes her into the migrant worker camps of California. It teaches much about the Great Depression as well as discrimination during that period.  At the beginning of the novel, Esperanza lives a

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