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Charlie Thorne is one of the smartest people alive–don’t take her word for it? Don’t worry, she’s been tested. Unfortunately, being one of the smartest people alive happens to get her into a lot of trouble.
A National Book Award Finalist in 2016, Ghost is just one of Jason Reynolds’ many works that have received recognition within the world of youth literature. Its triumphant narrative is perfect for middle schoolers, especially any young boy of color who too rarely sees an image of himself empathetically and realistically portrayed in text.
Maizy Chen had only met her grandparents once in person, a brief visit that was over before it truly began. But when Maizy’s grandfather gets sick, she and her mother drive to Last Chance, Minnesota to spend a few days with him. Those few days turn into the entire summer as Maizy and her mother realize just how ill he is.
When Hanna and her widowed father settle in the small town of LaForge in the Dakota Territory, Hanna is both excited and worried. Excited because after three years of traveling, they are finally in a town where they bought a store instead of renting–meaning her father intends to stay for longer than normal–and because she might be able to go to an actual school.
Mary’s family had lived on Martha’s Vineyard since the first English settlers arrived on the island, and her great-great-grandfather was the first deaf islander. While being born deaf elsewhere during the 19th century would lead to a life of struggle, on Martha’s Vineyard it is nothing out of the ordinary, and people like Mary and her father are supported and accepted by the community.