January 28, 2021

Think you know books?

Which one starts like this? Click on a book below to answer

I'd never heard of Zimbabwe. But something about the way the name looked up on the blackboard intrigued me. It was exotic, and difficult to pronounce. It was also the last country in a long list that Mrs. Miller had written in chalk. She asked each student in my seventh-grade english class to pick one place for a pen pal program our school was starting that year.
This is Not a Love Letter
Kim Purcell

This is Not a Love Letter

By: Kim Purcell
Recommended for grade(s): 9

One week. That's all Jessie said. A one-week break to get some perspective before graduation, before she and her boyfriend, Chris, would have to make all the big, scary decisions about their future--decisions they had been fighting about for weeks. Then, Chris vanishes. The police think he's run away, but Jessie doesn't believe it. Chris is popular and good-looking, about to head off to college on a full-ride baseball scholarship. And he disappeared while going for a run along the river--the same place where some boys from the rival high school beat him up just three weeks ago. Chris is one of the only black kids in a depressed paper mill town, and Jessie is terrified of what might have happened. As the police are spurred to reluctant action, Jessie speaks up about the harassment Chris kept quiet about and the danger he could be in. But there are people in Jessie's town who don't like the story she tells, who are infuriated by the idea that a boy like Chris would be a target of violence. They smear Chris's character and Jessie begins receiving frightening threats. Every Friday since they started dating, Chris has written Jessie a love letter. Now Jessie is writing Chris a letter of her own to tell him everything that's happening while he's gone. As Jessie searches for answers, she must face her fears, her guilt, and a past more complicated than she would like to admit. -- From Disney-Hyperion

Where to Find

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A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
Valerie Zenatti

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

By: Valerie Zenatti
Recommended for grade(s): 7

A seventeen-year-old from Jerusalem, Tal Levine comes from a family that always believed peace would come to the Middle East. She cried tears of joy when President Clinton and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with Yasser Arafat in 1993-a moment of hope that would stay with her forever. But when a terrorist explosion kills a young woman at a café in Jerusalem, something changes for Tal. One day she writes a letter, puts it in a bottle, and sends it to Gaza-to the other side-beginning a correspondence with a young Palestinian man that will ultimately open their eyes to each other's lives and hearts. -- From Bloomsbury Publishing USA

Where to Find

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I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives
Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives

By: Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch
Recommended for grade(s): 7, 8, 9

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. In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends --and better people--through their long-distance exchange. Their story will inspire you to look beyond your own life and wonder about the world at large and your place in it. --From the website at Hachette

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters
Gaile Giles

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters

By: Gaile Giles
Recommended for grade(s): 7, 8, 9, 10

Things had been getting a little better until I got a letter from my dead sister. That more or less ruined my day. When Sunny's older sister, Jazz, ran away to New York, Sunny was secretly relieved. Everyone loved Jazz, talked about Jazz, wished they were friends with Jazz. Jazz was perfect and Sunny was...well, not Jazz. Then Jazz's apartment building burns to the ground and she is presumed dead. Sunny's family, already broken by divorce, unravels. Dad's drinking skyrockets, and Mom's depression hits an all-time nonfunctioning low. Sunny is left to cope. Then they get a letter from Jazz saying she is coming home. But how? Jazz is dead, right? —from the website of Simon & Schuster

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.