Hometown Victory: A Coach’s Story of Football, Fate, and Coming Home
by Keanon Lowe
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release date: May 10, 2022
After the death of a former teammate, Keanon Lowe left his position coaching the San Francisco 49ers to return to his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Brokenhearted, he answered a Craigslist help wanted ad for a head coach of the Parkrose High School football program. Little did he know that rebuilding the team’s confidence would ultimately be an opportunity for his own healing.
Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Hometown Victory: A Coach’s Story of Football, Fate, and Coming Home by Keanon Lowe
by Rex Ogle
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Imprint: Norton Young Readers
Release date: October 5, 2021
In this autobiographical follow up to his first book Free Lunch, we follow Rex as he struggles through his teen years in a home full of domestic violence. On a daily basis Rex witnesses or endures beatings and arguing between his family members. To survive Rex does everything he can to protect his younger brother and imagines his deceased sister as a guardian angel guiding him through the darkest moments. As things begin to spin more and more out of control in his home, Rex must find a way to survive and stay safe, not only physically but also mentally.
Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Punching Bag by Rex Ogle
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
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.
Continue reading 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
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Free Lunch by Rex Ogle
Norton Young Readers / W.W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
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.
Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2021) Nominees Round Up, March 17 Edition
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.
Continue reading 2020 Nonfiction Award Winner: An Interview with Rex Ogle on Free Lunch