Rex Ogle has written his autiobiography in Free Lunch, a story about a young boy trying to survive a year in sixth grade. His dad left the family when Rex was five, and his mom has had many boyfriends, but they are now living with her latest, Sam, the maintenance man for their apartment complex. The family lives on food stamps, since Sam draws a small salary and Rex’s mother is out of a job. Both adults are physically abusive toward each other, and Rex’s mother is very abusive with him. Rex must watch his two and a half year old younger brother constantly, and is forced to grow up quickly, given all his responsibilities. There is a light at the end of the story, but Rex effectively illustrates how living in poverty makes for a miserable existence. A good read for today’s youth, especially those who take their wealth for granted.
The author and illustrator of the infamous Olivia picture book series, Ian Falconer, passed away last Tuesday, March 7, due to kidney failure. He won a Caldecott Honor Award in 2000 for Olivia, about a feisty young pig, first in the series of seven titles, which he originally wrote for his young niece. Falconer was also a set and costume designer for the theatre, and created 30 covers for the New Yorker. He will be missed in the world of children’s books…
Change Your Brain Every Day
Are you interested in improving your brain health? Psychiatrist and neuroscientist Daniel G. Amen has a new title coming out on March 21 that will give you advice on how to do just that. You can read an extensive sample peek on Amazon now. Dr. Amen identifies eleven risk factors that you can remember with the mnemonic BRIGHT MINDS: blood flow, retirement/aging, inflammation, genetics, head trauma, toxins, mental health, immunity/infections, neurohormone issues, diabetes, and sleep issues. He also offers brain-healthy habits to combat each risk factor. Keep an eye out for this title if you are interested in Amen’s suggestions…
Play Like a Girl: a Graphic Memoir
Misty is a middle school girl who wants to play football. She convinces her best friend, Bree to join with her, but it’s not really Bree’s thing, and she soon drops out. At first, the boys on the team are not happy with Misty playing, one in particular, Cole, makes sure to tackle her hard every chance he gets. But several of the others offer to help her become a better player. Misty Wilson and her husband are the co-authors, and it is her story to tell. She is now an elementary school teacher, and she thanks her students for inspiring her to write this book, as well as her 7th grade coaches for never treating her differently from the male players on the team. Play Like a Girl is an inspiring story of a girl trying to stay true to herself and fit into the middle school culture at the same time.
The House Guest
Alyssa is shocked when her wealthy but nasty husband Bill demands a divorce; she definitely didn’t see it coming. To drown her sorrows, she visits a neighborhood bar one night and makes a friend, Bree, who is on the run from an abusive boyfriend. Alyssa offers her a place to stay: in her guesthouse (there is serious money here). Together they try and track down Bree’s only relative, a brother that she just found out about. The story spins on and on, and Ryan completes it with a neat ending. This author is a master at storytelling, I forgot how much I enjoy reading her work. Good choice for mystery lovers…