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The Blue Spark
Max is a supervillain growing up in a supervillain family-- his mom controls fire and his dad is like a tornado. Max has the power of invisibility, which he uses to wreak havoc and go unseen. Or so he thinks. But Max goes to school with Ronnie, the son of superheroes and a champion of justice who can see in others what no one else can see--even good hearts in misbehaving boys. What happens when these two super-forces square off?
Flutterbugs: The Story of Spice & Cabbage
Cabbage and Spice are two caterpillars who become friends but are forced into different schools and lifestyles when one grows up to be a moth and the other a butterfly. In their insect world, butterflies and moths are taught to hate each other-- butterflies are “spectacular” and loved by humans, while moths are seen as pests. Will the two be able to overcome these barriers and remain friends?
A Little Girl in a Big, Big World
Jasmine wants to make a difference in her community, but sometimes she feels like a little girl in a big, big world. She feels helpless in the face of the problems she sees around her, like homelessness and kids skipping school. But when she begins taking small steps to solve these problems, and recognizes the power of her BIG personality, the impact she makes may surprise even her.
Taking Down Ms. Moody
An elementary school is moved to a new planet while Earth is under construction. But even their cool new home might not be enough to make up for their awful second grade teacher, Ms. Moody. The students will have to be inventive and work together to stop Ms. Moody and salvage their second grade year-- and learn something about themselves in the process.
Our Lives Matter
Book Release Date: June 9, 2015
Through the course of a historic year of civil unrest and the emergence of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, thirty teen writers from Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC came together to take part in this national conversation about race, inequality, violence, and justice. Through their powerful, personal stories these writers intend to Change the Narrative about youth of color. We are not thugs, they say. We are not victims. We are big sisters and sports stars, academic strivers and everyday heroes. We speak out for justice. We dream big dreams. These writers want more for themselves, more for their community, more for their generation. And they are challenging their readers to listen, and to recognize in each story a common humanity worthy of dignity, support, and respect. This riot of voices must be heard.
Jenika Sings for Freedom
Story: Jenika's life changed in an instant. One day she lived in the countryside with her mother and ten siblings, and the next she moved with her aunt to the city, where she was promised an education but was instead forced into a life of cooking, cleaning, and despair. The only thing that kept her going was her singing. Read this inspiring tale of a girl who overcame the odds, written by girls who understand her struggle.
Story Behind the Story: Written by a team of young women served by the Restavek Freedom Foundation, Jenika Sings For Freedom aims to raise awareness about the inhumanity and injustice of child slavery in Haiti. At the same time, the books give these young women the opportunity to shape the stories of their own lives with power and possibility and hope.
Stand Up for Soraya
Story: Soraya dreams of the life she once knew: a loving mother, school, hope for the future. But now that her mother has died, her father has re-married, and her step-mother treats her as a slave, she feels alone and invisible. Until one day when she meets a little girl named Anita, who courage and sense of justice could change the course of Soraya's life. Through this story the authors issue a challenge: Could you have this courage to change a life?
Story Behind the Story: Written by a team of young women served by the Restavek Freedom Foundation, Stand Up For Soraya aims to raise awareness about the inhumanity and injustice of child slavery in Haiti. At the same time, the books give these young women the opportunity to shape the stories of their own lives with power and possibility and hope.
"Take a step outside and look..."
You’ll see trash, you’ll see smoking, you’ll see drug dealing, fighting and killing. A lot of people live there, like a whole bunch of vienna sausages in a square can. Some people are bad, but some are good... It’s a roughed up hood, but we all got tough love for each other.
So begins Trinitoga, a novel-in-stories by middle-school authors of Beacon House. These young writers created a fictionalized neghborhood and populated it with an endearing and heartbreaking cast of characters, not unlike people they have encountered in their own lives. Learn more.
How To Grow Up Like Me
"Your Story Is Your Strength." This is the mantra that emerged from a six-month writing project at Ballou High School in Washington, DC, in which eleven dedicated freshmen and six determined seniors told their stories of ambition and struggle in what came to be known as The Ballou Story Project. Together their poignant, powerful voices come together to tell a collective story of How To Grow Up Like Me, a kind of instruction manual for determination, grit, and daily acts of hope and courage. Learn more.
The Hoodie Hero
Story: Da’Monte walks home deflated after watching a friend get bullied. Afraid, he did nothing. Wishing he was braver, he confided in his grandmother, who provided a powerful surprise. With a magical hoodie provided by the family matriarch, Da’Monte becomes brave and bold. The bullies better watch out.
Story Behind the Story: In this fresh take on a superhero story, these teen authors reclaim the hoodie as a symbol not of intimidation or threat, but of courage and selflessness. Hoodie is the new Cape. In the context of continued racial profiling of and violence towards young black men in this country, this reimagining could not be more timely, or more necessary.
The Princess of Fort Hill Shelter
Story: Meet Princess McKenzie as she shows you around her castle, the Fort Hill Homeless Shelter. McKenzie shows the power of imagination in overcoming difficult circumstances. Missing her mom, Princess McKenzie leaves the shelter in search of the queen and finds something far more important.
Story Behind the Story: In this bold and imaginative story, these teen authors address a challenge they know some of their readers know personally, but that we rarely see represented in children's literature: living in a homeless shelter. They wanted to portray the shelter as a safe and helpful place where families can rebuild and get the support they need, while also exploring the complex relationship issues that can be caused by financial struggle.
Khalil's Swagtown Adventure
Story: Khalil is tired of hearing his parents fight. As they scream, he retreats to his closet and writes a letter to his future self, dreaming of escape. To his surprise, this future self – called Bruh – shows up to provide support. Together, they visit a fantastical place called Swagtown and learn how families can communicate better.
Story Behind the Story: These teen authors knew that kids need to see themselves and their own struggles represented in the stories they read in order to know they are not alone. They also like things that are outlandish and wacky! This story is a smart and fun combination of both.
Mariah Finds A Way
Story: Mariah really wants to take over her parents’ fruit shop one day, but they don’t think she can do it. Why? Because she’s blind. When her parents leave on vacation, Mariah gets her hands on the keys to the store. With the help of her parrot sidekick, Blue, Mariah must find a way to get the job done.
Story Behind the Story: Inspired by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, which promotes diversity not only of race but of religion, orientation, culture, and ability, these teen authors chose to tell an empowering story about a protagonist who was blind.
The Airplane Effect
Teen authors Marc, Sasha, Angelo, and Sean understand one of the most important aspects of childhood: play. But what if play is taken away? In The Airplane Effect, we meet a young boy who struggles with the effects of cancer and dreams of having fun. Frustrated, he throws a paper airplane out the window. What happens next? You'll have to read to find out.
One Lonely Camel
How often do our stories for children explore sadness, loneliness, and disruption? While these children’s books are rare, the reality is all too present for many of our young people. Teen authors Rashaan, Sejal, DaQuan, and Zorita took on this challenging topic through the eyes of Larry, the lonely (rapping) camel.
The Gloomy Light
Ernie and Sal are best friends. Ernie is a multi-lingual llama, and Sal, a color-changing frog. When aliens kidnap Ernie to help them fly their spaceship–they need a translator!–what will Sal do? Join teen authors Joshua, Za’Metria, Dana, and Kyare on this fantastical voyage. Though the characters are animals, human themes of friendship shine through.
Trio + 1
Jealousy. Envy. Loneliness. We’ve all felt these emotions. In this incredible story of frustration and friendship, teen authors Jordan, Rico, and Brandon share the silly things we do when feeling bad about ourselves. Bobby, the editor of the school newspaper at REACH Middle School, is jealous of a popular threesome. His plan: break up the trio. Does it work?