Flying Lessons & Other Stories
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Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold short story collection-written by some of the best children's authors including Kwame Alexander, Meg Medina, Jacqueline Woodson, and many more and published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books-celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.
"Will resonate with any kid who's ever felt different-which is to say, every kid." -Time
Great stories take flight in this adventurous middle-grade anthology crafted by ten of the most recognizable and diverse authors writing today. Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander delivers a story in-verse about a boy who just might have magical powers; National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson spins a tale of friendship against all odds; and Meg Medina uses wet paint to color in one girl's world with a short story that inspired her Newbery award-winner Merci Suárez Changes Gear. Plus, seven more bold voices that bring this collection to new heights with tales that challenge, inspire, and celebrate the unique talents within us all.
AUTHORS INCLUDE: Kwame Alexander, Kelly J. Baptist, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, Jacqueline Woodson
"There's plenty of magic in this collection to go around." -Booklist, Starred
"A natural for middle school classrooms and libraries." -Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"Inclusive, authentic, and eminently readable." -School Library Journal, Starred
"Thought provoking and wide-ranging . . . should not be missed."-Publishers Weekly, Starred
"Read more books by these authors." -The Bulletin, Starred
How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium
Matt de la Peña
It s finally summer.
Go ahead, take a deep breath. You re free.
All year long your moms has been on you like glue about algebra worksheets and science fair projects and the knee-high stack of books Mrs. Baker assigned for English class. And you did what you had to do. Two As and four Bs.
Truth is, you re actually pretty smart.
School comes easy.
You told Baker in that end-of-the-year five-page paper what was up with Esperanza s dreams and the symbolism of the Mango Street house, and you pulled down a 96 percent--second-highest grade in the class. But even as you typed out that essay, you had an indoor-outdoor in your lap. Between sentences you daydreamed finger rolls over outstretched hands.
See, here s what all the hard-core homework pushers don t get.
For people like you, ball is more than just ball.
It s a way out.
A path to those tree-lined lives they always show on TV.
You ve crunched the numbers and read the tea leaves. Fact is, you ll never hit the books as hard as Boy Genius Jeremiah Villa. Sylvia Diaz, either. Even your boy Francisco, from down the hall. There are folks in this world who live to mark up a fat World History textbook with an arsenal of colored highlighters.
You re not one of them.
You spend too much time on back-alley ball-handling drills to compete.
Nah, the game of basketball is your best chance.
The Fate of Your Hoop Development
For the past three years you ve spent every free minute balling at an outdoor court down the street from your building. After school. After games. Weekends. You name it.
Most nights you re still out there putting up shots, alone, when the sun falls behind the ocean and the automatic park lights come flickering on, spilling that strange yellow half-light across the cracked concrete.
Ball is like anything else.
Put in enough hours, your game s gonna blast off.
Your jumper s now pure out to twenty-five feet, give or take. You ve developed a little floater in the lane that leaves slow-footed big men flailing. But it s your handle that sets you apart. Your quicks. The way you can get into the paint at will and finish with either hand.
This past season you scored more points than any other eighth grader in the county.
You were second in assists.
It ain t good enough, and you know it.
Not if you want to be even more dominant next year, in high school.
That s why your ears perk up when you overhear a couple newcomers talking about Muni Gym in Balboa Park. When you overhear the dude with love handles sitting on the stairs say to his boy, It s the best run in the entire city, B. I put that on everything.
You ranked em out? the other guy asks.
Nah, I used to ball there all the time before I tweaked my back. If you can hang with them big boys at Muni . . . shoot, you can hang with just about anybody.
Shelf the extra jumpers that night.
Proceed instead to the local library and look up Muni Gym online. Type the address into Google Earth and you ll discover it s right next to the Air and Space Museum your moms took you and your sis to ba
Ellen Oh is cofounder and president of We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) and author of the YA fantasy trilogy the Prophecy series and the middle-grade novel The Spirit Hunters, to be published in fall 2017. She was named one of Publishers Weekly's Notable People of 2014. Ellen met Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers at one of her first book festivals. Already nervous, her mouth dropped open when she saw the pair towering over the crowd. Chris took pity on an awestruck Ellen and introduced himself, and he and Walter couldn't have been nicer, taking her under their wing and treating her like an old friend. Oh resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and three children. Discover more at ellenoh.com.
A natural for middle school classrooms and libraries, this strong collection should find eager readers. Kirkus Reviews, Starred
Inclusive, authentic, and eminently readable, this collection of short stories is an excellent addition for libraries and classrooms. School Library Journal, Starred
Thought provoking and wide-ranging, this first anthology from WNDB should not be missed.
Publishers Weekly, Starred
Whether or not middle-schoolers read the afterword . . . they are sure to agree that they need to read more books by these authors, whose storytelling styles and genuine feel for adolescent struggles and triumphs will inspire them to seek out their other work. The Bulletin, Starred