Chase was the school bully and kids feared him. While adding to his growing file of ruthless behavior, he fell off the roof of his house, causing a concussion, that led to amnesia. He has no idea what kind of a kid he was. His friends notice a change in him, and they aren't sure they like it, while the nerdy kids also notice a change in him and they aren't sure they trust him. Which direction will his "restart" take him. Get excited for our read aloud of Restart, by Gordon Korman. This will be a fun book to start the year because it is about a boy that gets a chance to "restart" his own life. He can choose to remain the bully that he was, or he can choose to follow a new path. Both directions pull at him and he has old friends hoping he will stay the way he was and new friends hoping he will become the person he could be.
Castle, or "Ghost" is running for his life . . . literally. His father aims a gun right at him and his mother as they flee their home for the local corner store and the owner who hides them. Ghost finds himself on the school track team who runs faster than the fastest kid on the team. The coach, not unlike Ghost himself, continues to stand by him despite Ghost repeatedly making poor choices. I cannot wait to share this book with you out loud as we learn more about Ghost. This book is the first in a trilogy. This is an important book to read because we all have personal stories that make us angry or sad, or want to hide. Ghost has decisions to make and he doesn't always make good ones. Making bad choices doesn't have to define us and we can rise above them and choose to do better.
The year is 1985 and Salva is in school when his small village in the Sudan is attacked and bombed. His school teacher tells him to run and not look back. We follow him on his walks from country to country, refugee camp to refugee camp, hoping to find a way to the United States. After years, it finally happens when he is taken in by an American family. Told in alternating chapters is Nya's story, a young girl in a different African village that must walk eight miles each way to gather water for her family, preventing her from going to school. When we read this story together, you will learn how their stories connect and how their lives intertwine forever. We take for granted that we have a faucet to turn on to get a glass of water, a washing machine that washes our clothes, a hose to run around in, pools to swim in, or a shower with an unending water supply. This is not the case for so many in undeveloped countries, such as many parts of Africa. As we read this, we will gain an appreciation for how fortunate we are to have an abundant supply of this life saving resource.
Joseph is a Jewish refugee fleeing Nazi Germany for Cuba in 1938. Isabel is a Cuban refugee fleeing Communist Cuba for the USA in 1994. Mahmoud, a Syrian refugee is headed for Europe in 2015. Their time periods are different, yet all are trying to find a new home that will offer safety and refuge. There are costs involved in each story and uncertainty of their futures. You will be on the edge of your seat as we travel with them as they escape their homelands and enter into the unknown. Refugee is a gripping story that you will not soon forget. This is an important story to read because it is relevant to what is happening in our world today. Families leaving their homes goes back hundreds of years and still continues today. Syrians are fleeing their country as I write this, hoping for a better life. The United States is considered a desirable place to come, but is it? Rich conversations can happen around this book.