Secondary SBCUSD Reads - February
Middle School Recommendations
In the face of impending disaster, Hazel Rothbury, a courageous young stowaway aboard the Titanic, embarks on a perilous journey to survive. Alone on the grand ship, she harbors a secret dream that unfolds with the help of a porter named Charlie and a kind first-class passenger named Sylvia. As Hazel explores in secret, she unveils a haunting mystery. When tragedy strikes, readers are thrust into a world of terror and suspense, standing alongside Hazel as she bravely fights to save her friends and herself. "Titanic: A Stowaway's Tale" is a gripping narrative that navigates the highs of dreams and the lows of danger on the iconic voyage.
August Pullman, born with a facial difference, faces a new chapter as he enters 5th grade at Beecher Prep, yearning to be treated just like any other kid. However, his extraordinary face becomes a focal point for his new classmates, challenging their ability to see beyond appearances. Narrated initially from Auggie's viewpoint, the story unfolds through the eyes of his classmates, sister, her boyfriend, and others. Together, these perspectives intricately weave a portrait of a community grappling with empathy, compassion, and the journey towards acceptance.
In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period.
High School Recommendations
George Takei, renowned actor and activist, shares a poignant memoir of his childhood during World War II when his family, like many Japanese Americans, faced the injustice of internment. As a young child, Takei struggled to comprehend the abnormality of their situation as they moved from the Santa Anita race track to Camp Rowher in Arkansas and eventually to Tule Lake in California. Despite the dehumanizing conditions, Takei's parents, unable to apply for citizenship, resisted where they could and contributed to the community within the camps. The graphic novel memoir provides a nuanced portrayal of resilience, resistance, and the complex emotions experienced by Japanese Americans during this dark period. It also pays homage to those who, despite their internment, chose to serve in the armed forces, highlighting their enduring commitment to a country that had treated them unjustly.
Javier Zamora's compelling memoir unfolds as a three-thousand-mile odyssey, beginning in his small town in El Salvador, weaving through Guatemala and Mexico, and culminating at the U.S. border. Solito not only recounts the treacherous and nearly impossible journey but also unveils the profound kindness and love encountered in the unlikeliest moments. This memoir serves as Javier Zamora's personal narrative, but it resonates as a universal story, representing the millions who, like him, had no choice but to leave home. It is a gripping and moving account that captures the resilience, hope, and humanity amidst the challenges of migration.
The novel by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani revolves around the story of a girl taken from her Nigerian village, where dreams turn into nightmares when Boko Haram attacks her village. Kidnapped and forced into the forest, she must adhere to her captors' radical beliefs while witnessing her best friend succumb to the same. Despite the seemingly impossible situation, the girl fiercely defends her existence, determined to fight for her life and future. The novel captures the harrowing experiences of those affected by Boko Haram and underscores the resilience and strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.