By: Christina Keasler, Tween Librarian
It’s a new year, and the time for resolutions. I’ll be honest, I didn’t make a resolution this year. Resolutions are about change, and I don’t want much to change. Anything that needs a little tweaking, doesn’t merit a resolution. In the past, I’ve made resolutions that I’ll keep enforcing this year – do a good deed each day, even if it’s complimenting a stranger, and I try to let things bother me less. Resolutions are great. Even if you don’t follow through all 12 months, it still allows for self-reflection. It makes you think about your life, how you want things to be different, and pick the roads that will get you there.
A new year can mean change. I think everyone in the library can attest to that. The new youth department in the library has opened its doors and unveiled all the changes that we have worked on in the past few months. There are new toys, new displays, new books, and new rooms. The whole department has a new-thing smell. It’s glorious. If you haven’t yet, be sure to stop by and see what we have to offer, including The Middle, a room just for 6-8th grade visitors.
Change is not unique to one person or place. All of us deal with change at some point in our lives. It can be an experience that bonds people together. My cats decided they will be friends after we moved into our house. The fear of change bonded them together. Since cats can’t read, they can’t enjoy stories about change, but that shouldn’t stop us. Stories about change, or main characters dealing with life-altering events are fun to read because it could happen to us, or it already has.
If you’d like to experience change through someone else’s eyes, pick up one (or more) of these titles.
The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter by Kristen Tracy
After an unfortunate incident at the hair salon, Bessica is not allowed to see her best friend, Sylvie. That means she’s going to start middle school a-l-o-n-e. Bessica feels like such a loser. She wants friends. She’s just not sure how to make them. It doesn’t help that her beloved grandma is off on some crazy road trip and has zero time to listen to Bessica. Or that Bessica has a ton of homework. Or that gorgeous Noll Beck thinks she’s just a kid. Or that there are some serious psycho-bullies in her classes. Bessica doesn’t care about being popular. She just wants to survive–and look cute. Is that too much to ask when you’re eleven?
The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano
There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and Papo–her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who’s come from Puerto Rico to live with them. Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest. When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation. Infused with actual news accounts from the time period, Sonia Manzano has crafted a gripping work of fiction based on her own life growing up during a fiery, unforgettable time in America, when young Latinos took control of their destinies.
Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy
Friendship can be a bumpy road. . . .Lana and Cassie have met only once before, at the wedding of Lana’s Grandpa Howe and Cassie’s Grandma Tess two months ago. The two girls couldn’t be more different, and they didn’t exactly hit it off–but they’re about to spend an entire week together for their grandparents’ honeymoon, road-tripping from California to Maine in the backseat of a Subaru. It’s going to be a disaster.
I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch
The true story of an all-American girl and a boy from Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever. It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin’s class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. Martin was lucky to even receive a pen-pal letter. There were only ten letters, and fifty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one. That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.
Body Switch by M.G. Higgins
A wish comes true in a mysterious restaurant. Two boys switch places. Brian Stark is a normal middle school kid. He is bored with his family. School is a drag. Watching his little sister is a total pain. Jamie Hawk is an international pop star sensation with a ton of money, but he has no normal life. His dad bosses him around. He has no privacy. He never sees his mom. Zap! With a crack of lightning and a selfie, it all changes.
The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele Helen Hurwitz
This summer, Nina decides to change things. She hatches a plan. There are sixty-five days of summer. Every day, she’ll anonymously do one small but remarkable good thing for someone in her neighborhood, and find out: does doing good actually make a difference? Along the way, she discovers that her neighborhood, and her family, are full of surprises and secrets.
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly
Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show her how special she really is.
Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town, accepts his teacher’s challenge to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world. His idea is simple: do a good deed for three people and instead of asking them to return the favor, ask them to ‘pay it forward’ to three others who need help.
My Year of Epic Rock by Andrea Pyros
If Life Was Like a Song….Nina Simmons’ song would be “You Can’t Always Eat What You Want.” (Peanut allergies, ugh). But that’s okay, because as her best friend Brianna always said, “We’re All in This Together.” Until the first day of the seventh grade, when Brianna dumps her to be BFFs with the popular new girl. Left all alone, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”–banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts. As a joke, she tells her new pals they should form a rock band called EpiPens. (Get it?) Apparently, allergy sufferers don’t understand sarcasm, because the next thing Nina knows she’s the lead drummer. Now Nina has to decide: adopt a picture-perfect pop personality to fit in with Bri and her new BFF or embrace her inner rocker and the spotlight. Well…Call Me a Rock Star, Maybe.