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FIGHT BACK

One of our recommended books is Fight Back by A.M. Dassu

Thirteen-year-old Aaliyah can’t wait for a concert by her favorite K-pop boy band, 3W. She isn’t too concerned with stories on the news about the rise of the far right—after all, it doesn’t affect her—until a terrorist attack at the concert changes everything.

Local racists are emboldened and anti-Muslim rhetoric starts cropping up at school and on the street. When Aaliyah starts getting bullied, she knows she has to do something to stand up to the hate. She decides that, instead of hiding who she is, she will begin wearing a hijab for the first time, to challenge how people in her community see Muslims.

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MERCI SUÁREZ PLAYS IT COOL

One of our recommended books is Merci Suarez Plays it Cool by Meg Medina

For Merci Suárez, eighth grade means a new haircut, nighttime football games, and an out-of-town overnight field trip. At home, it means more chores and keeping an eye on Lolo as his health worsens. It’s a year filled with more responsibility and independence, but also with opportunities to reinvent herself. Merci has always been fine with not being one of the popular kids like Avery Sanders, who will probably be the soccer captain and is always traveling to fun places and buying new clothes. But then Avery starts talking to Merci more, and not just as a teammate. Does this mean they’re friends?

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THE READING LIST

One of our recommended books is The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

An unforgettable and heartwarming debut about how a chance encounter with a list of library books helps forge an unlikely friendship between two very different people in a London suburb.

Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.

Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. 

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WATER OVER STONES

One of our recommended books is Water Over Stones by Bernardo Atxaga

A perceptive, moving novel about life and death in the Basque Country, from the author of Nevada Days.

Bernardo Atxaga’s Water over Stones follows a group of interconnected people in a small village in the Basque Country. It opens with the story of a young boy who has returned from his French boarding school to his uncle’s bakery, where his family hopes he will speak again. He’s been silent since an incident in which he threw a stone at a teacher for reasons unknown. With the assistance of twin brothers who take him to a river in the forest, 

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THE ELEPHANT GIRL

One of our recommended books is The Elephant Girl by James Patterson, Ellen Banda-Aaku and Sophia Krevoy

#1 bestselling author James Patterson and award-winning author Ellen Banda-Aaku deliver an unforgettable story of a girl, an elephant, and their life-changing friendship.

Clever, sensitive Jama likes elephants better than people. While her classmates gossip—especially about the new boy, Leku—twelve-year-old Jama takes refuge at the watering hole outside her village. There she befriends a baby elephant she names Mbegu, Swahili for seed.

When Mbegu’s mother, frightened by poachers, stampedes, Jama and Mbegu are blamed for two deaths—one elephant and one human. Now Leku, whose mysterious and imposing father is head ranger at the conservancy, may be their only lifeline.

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ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE

One of our recommended books is All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

In this “warm, funny” novel (Good Housekeeping), Jamaican immigrant Hubert Bird rediscovers the world he’d once turned his back on as he learns to find happiness after staying in isolation for so long.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship, and fulfillment. But it’s a lie. In reality, Hubert’s days are all the same, dragging on without him seeing a single soul.

Until he receives some good news—good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever,

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