New Books for Girls

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolotionist by Margarita Engle

Reading Level:  Ages 12 and up

This inspiring free verse novel is the fictionalized story of the early teen years of  Cuban poet/abollitionist Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-1873.)  At thirteen, Tula uses her poetry and plays to express her views about freedom, both for the slaves of Cuba and for the young girls who are sold into arranged marriages to the highest bidder.  In defiance of her family's wishes  Tula is determined to live a free life.  Other poems give added dimension as the reader hear from her supportive brother, the nuns who nuture Tula, her disgusted mother, and the freed slave who has not  had the courage to leave. Tula's is a beautiful and powerful story.

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Other books by Margarita Engle

Cameron and the Girls by Edward Averett

Reading Level: Grades 7 - 10

Cameron has schiophreniform disorder, a form of schizophrenia.  At fourteen, he decides he's old enough to make the decision to go off his meds.   Without medication Cameron hears voices.  He hears The Professor who gives good solid advice.  Then there's The Girl who is everything Cameron could want in a relationship except that she's not real.  Then a new voice called The Other Guy tells Cameron to be more macho and take risks.  When a girl in his special ed class shows an interest in Cameron an unusual love triangle develops. 

 

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Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

Reading Level:  Age 12 and up

In modern day Tanzania, the word for albino and nothing is the same.  13-year-old Habo is an albino who feels that he is nothing but a freak of nature that brings bad luck to his family.  When the fatherless family loses their farm, they journey to a region where Habo learns that albinos are hunted and killed for their body parts. Albino's body parts are used by witch doctors to make good luck charms.  Pursued by a bounty hunter Habo runs for his life.  In the Dar Es Salaam, he meets a kind, blind sculptor who shows Habo the possibility of a new life.

In her riveting, realistic debut novel, Sullivan focuses on the treatment of albinos as she portrays the thoughts and feelings of a wonderful boy who comes to realize his worth.   The appendix includes a list of organization who help albinos in East African countries.

When We Wuz Famous by Greg Takoudes

Reading Level:  Grades 9 and up

Franciso is a celebrity in his Spanish Harlem neighborhood.  He is a top student, popular, and a gifted basketball player.  He has a wonderful girlfriend and loving supportive parents.  For his senior year he is offered a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school in upstate New York.  Franciso  knows this is his ticket out of the 'hood and into a better life for him and those he loves.  But his best friend fears that Francisco will leave him behind.  A visit home sets in motion events that lead to bad decisions, betrayals, and tested loyalties.  This is a riveting book that readers will not want to put down.

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Another book about a minority scholarship student is  Tequila Worm by Viola Canales.

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