Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hard Wood by Sugar Rodgers

They Better Call Me Sugar Cover Art

They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hard Wood by Sugar Rodgers
Black Sheep/Akashic Books
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-1617759710

WNBA All-Star Sugar Rodgers shares her story of growing up, poverty, family life, school, sports, friends, and how she eventually shaped a successful career as a professional basketball player for herself. 

The author’s writing style is clear and direct, and events happen chronologically. Tough issues are covered with a matter-of-fact tone. The book is less than 200 pages and Sugar’s voice is engaging and relatable. Basketball is central to Sugar’s story but she also talks about golf, meeting Tiger Woods, and the integral role of coaches in her life.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, March 17 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Free Lunch by Rex Ogle
Norton Young Readers / W.W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
ISBN: 978-1324003601

Rex’s sixth grade year is characterized by the poverty he’s grown up in, as well as the abuse he suffers at the hands of his parents. The young adolescent narrating the story observes stark contrasts in adults’ expectations and their actual treatment of him. In addition to the trauma he buries at home, he faces trying to fit in like any teenager would, deciding what to hide or reveal to his peers about his personal life.

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2020 Nonfiction Award Winner: An Interview with Rex Ogle on Free Lunch

Rex Ogle won the 2020 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award for his moving debut, Free Lunch, published by Norton Young Readers.  In it, he tells the story of his first semester in sixth grade, living in chronic poverty with his younger brother, mother, and her boyfriend. He vividly describes the emotional and social toll of being in the free lunch program that semester, along with other struggles he faced during that time. Rex graciously agreed to our interview for The Hub, and I was honored to get the chance to interview him about this important book.

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