Four girls from different backgrounds are selected to become “The Flyers” for Spread Your Wings Magazine. Elena is a shy Latina who lives in her best friend’s shadow and is uncomfortable about the pubescent changes in her body. Harlow is a Japanese-American wannabe journalist, Cailin, a young influencer, and Whitney, a Black fashionista who secretly has panic attacks. The girls spend a week in New York City together than bonds them as friends and gives them the courage to find their voices.
While I love reading and supporting authors, I’ve also been broke a lot in the past and wondered how to read children’s books for free (or on a budget). Of course, all the options on this are list are legal (as far as I know) and in no way take advantage of authors or their hard work.
Yusuf Azeem is not a hero like his dad who talked down a gun man in their small-town A-Z Dollar Store. But his dad’s heroism doesn’t prevent him from getting worsening hateful notes in his locker telling him to “Go Home.” Yusuf and his friend Danial had expected that this would be their year — their entry into middle school and a chance to compete in a robotics contest. However, when some of the townspeople, including a group called the Patriot Sons try to stop the construction of their town’s mosque and begin to target Yusuf and other Muslims in the community, they are forced to take a stand.
XOXO is about a Korean-American teen and cello prodigy, Jenny. One night she meets and likes a stranger, Jaewoo. They basically go on a date, take photos in a photo booth and exchange numbers, only for Jaewoo to stop responding to her texts. When her grandmother becomes sick, Jenny’s mother decides to travel to South Korea to look after her. She eventually agrees that Jenny can transfer schools and move with her. But soon after they arrive, Jenny realizes that Jaewoo is 1/4th of the popular new boy band, XOXO — and is forbidden from dating.
In How to Win a Slime War, young Alex Manalo and his father have moved from Silicon Valley to Sacramento where his dad is taking over his Lolo and Lola’s grocery store. His grandparents have retired and his dad is tired of Silicon Valley living and wants to revamp the family’s Filipino Market. Alex is struggling to adjust a new place and also feeling burdened by his father’s expectations of him — that he cut his hair short, play more sports, and make less slime.
The kids in these stories enjoy the community that comes from growing up in a small town, but sometimes it’s also frustrating for them. These stories are charming, funny, and moving. If you grew up in a small town, they’ll truly resonate and if you’re raising kids in a big city, these books will hopefully show them that other kids have a different reality.