Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.
In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers.
From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language; Violence; Racism
Booklist starred (September 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 2))
Grades 4-7. This collaboration with We Need Diverse Books has no single overarching theme. Instead, its 10 award-winning contributors bring their own diversity to individual, idiosyncratic stories that reflect a variety of themes and subjects. The book is dedicated to the late Walter Dean Myers, who is well represented in the collection with his satisfying story about a physically challenged boy, his father, and wheelchair basketball. Though the stories are roundly excellent—authors include Kelly J. Baptist, Grace Lin, Tim Tingle, and Meg Medina—a few do stand out. Matt de la Peña writes about a young Latino boy for whom basketball is a way out to a better life. Tim Federle tells a lighthearted story about Secret Santas and the gift of friendship. Then there is Jacqueline Woodson’s beautiful offering about love, loss, and an interracial friendship; Soman Chainani’s irresistible tale about a lonely American boy on vacation with his Auntie Mame of a grandmother; and Kwame Alexander’s teasingly imaginative story in verse about a boy who acquires a magic power—or does he? No matter if he doesn’t, for there’s plenty of magic in this collection to go around.
Kirkus Reviews starred (October 1, 2016)
Edited by We Need Diverse Books co-founder Oh, a collection of short stories that embraces a wide cultural spectrum of authorship. Readers feel the angst that comes with getting to know the cool new California girl at a Pennsylvania school in Tim Federle’s “Secret Samantha,” narrated by gender-nonconforming Sam. They’ll thrill to Grace Lin’s “The Difficult Path,” the tale of a young Chinese servant girl who is captured by pirates, who save her from an arranged marriage to a horrible young boy from a wealthy family. Kwame Alexander contributes a short story in verse about a young Star Wars geek who is head over heels with the school’s prettiest girl. Perhaps most poignantly, there is “Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push,” about a boy whose basketball-star father gives his wheelchair basketball team some crucial pointers, from Walter Dean Myers. These stories and others—from Matt de la Peña, Meg Medina, Kelly J. Baptist, Tim Tingle, Jacqueline Woodson, and Soman Chainani—ably contain universal themes: friendship, sibling rivalry, parental embarrassment, first crushes, and the trials and challenges that school can bring. Thumbnail biographies of the contributors and an introduction to the genesis and work of We Need Diverse Books round out the volume. A natural for middle school classrooms and libraries, this strong collection should find eager readers. (Anthology. 8-12)
About the Editor
Writer, lawyer, college instructor, donut-slayer, chocolate lover. Addicted to diet coke. Likes to quote extensively from the Princess Bride, Monty Python and Godfather movies. Never leaves home without her iphone, chapstick, a book and her American Express card.
For a more detailed bio, please check out her website at ellenoh.com.
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