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1. How One College Student is Making an Impact in Her Community

janessa-blythe-1

When Janessa Blythe discovered through a college leadership course that kids in her Waco, Texas community didn’t have access to books, she decided to act.

The junior at Baylor University is launching Waco Up & Read, a program that provides books for kids from low-income communities. “It appalled me that kids didn’t have access to stories and didn’t have access to books in general,” says Janessa, “that sent me on a little bit of a journey — what can I do about this?”

Janessa’s book drive provided each kid at Restoration Haven, a Waco community support organization, with eight books to call their own. For many, those books make up their entire home libraries. Working with Restoration Haven, Janessa is planning to provide more books through a pilot program, and establish Waco Up & Read as a nonprofit.

Her plans are ambitious, but Janessa understands the kind of impact that books can have.

janessa-blythe-2“Stories teach kids that when hard times come, or you hit a brick wall in life, that you can break through – that is a major matter you see in good stories.”

And exposing kids to good stories is important to Waco Up & Read. Janessa plans to use the First Book Marketplace to give kids access to rich and varied content.

“Obviously that includes classic children’s books, but in general I’m looking for books that teach virtue, teach empathy, that teach human issues.”

To do that though, Janessa will need to raise money for Waco Up & Read. One way she is doing that is through First Book campaigns, which makes the fundraising process simple and easy.

All across the country kids in need lack access to books and stories, but the kids in Waco communities have a champion in Janessa. Book drives, fundraising, and eventually a nonprofit organization – that can seem like a lot for a college student but it’s as simple as identifying a need, and meeting it.

And that is something we are all capable of.

 

If you serve kids in need, please visit the First Book Marketplace to explore our variety of educational resources. To raise money and make an impact in your community, start a First Book campaign to provide books to kids in need.

The post How One College Student is Making an Impact in Her Community appeared first on First Book Blog.

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2. Writing Takes Guts: My Writing Backstory

The realization of this moment gave me chills and led me to share my writing backstory with Dana. Dana listened and encouraged me to open my presentation with this story. I was hesitant, the experience had halted my inner writer for years. What if sharing it again had the same result?

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3. How Books Inspire Action: The Citizen Power Project

firstbook-tampa-99

All too often, young people feel they don’t have the power to fix problems in their communities.

How can books inspire students to take action and become engaged citizens?

Earlier this year, First Book, along with our partners the American Federation of Teachers and the Albert Shanker Institute, presented educators nationwide with a challenge: identify an issue and a civic engagement project important to their students, school or community. We then asked for proposals on how, with the support of books and resources from First Book, could their students take action to address that issue and show their students that they have a voice and the ability to make positive changes happen.

We called this challenge The Citizen Power Project. Funded by the Aspen Institute’s Pluribus Project, 15 proposals  – five each from elementary, middle and high schools – would be chosen to receive a collection of special resources to help them implement their projects and a $500 grant for use on the First Book Marketplace.

More than 920 proposals were received.

The 15 classroom projects that stood out and won the challenge addressed a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Learning about global cultural perspectives as a way to build compassion,
  • Planning a community garden to promote healthy eating,
  • Combating bullying,
  • Learning American Sign Language and
  • Building a health and wellness library.

We believe these projects, and the books and resources First Book will provide to help them flourish, will help these educators and the young leaders they teach to advance the causes they are so passionate about. And, by sharing stories about the successes of these projects, we hope to inspire others around the country to be change makers, themselves.

With our partners, we’ll be checking in with the inspiring projects through the end of the year to update you on their progress toward creating innovative learning environments, and the impact of the projects on their respective communities.

Stay tuned for more about the Citizen Power Challenge winners! Read more about the Citizen Power Challenge here.

The post How Books Inspire Action: The Citizen Power Project appeared first on First Book Blog.

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4. How Books Inspire Action: The Citizen Power Project

firstbook-tampa-99

All too often, young people feel they don’t have the power to fix problems in their communities.

How can books inspire students to take action and become engaged citizens?

Earlier this year, First Book, along with our partners the American Federation of Teachers and the Albert Shanker Institute, presented educators nationwide with a challenge: identify an issue and a civic engagement project important to their students, school or community. We then asked for proposals on how, with the support of books and resources from First Book, could their students take action to address that issue and show their students that they have a voice and the ability to make positive changes happen.

We called this challenge The Citizen Power Project. Funded by the Aspen Institute’s Pluribus Project, 15 proposals  – five each from elementary, middle and high schools – would be chosen to receive a collection of special resources to help them implement their projects and a $500 grant for use on the First Book Marketplace.

More than 920 proposals were received.

The 15 classroom projects that stood out and won the challenge addressed a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Learning about global cultural perspectives as a way to build compassion,
  • Planning a community garden to promote healthy eating,
  • Combating bullying,
  • Learning American Sign Language and
  • Building a health and wellness library.

We believe these projects, and the books and resources First Book will provide to help them flourish, will help these educators and the young leaders they teach to advance the causes they are so passionate about. And, by sharing stories about the successes of these projects, we hope to inspire others around the country to be change makers, themselves.

With our partners, we’ll be checking in with the inspiring projects through the end of the year to update you on their progress toward creating innovative learning environments, and the impact of the projects on their respective communities.

Stay tuned for more about the Citizen Power Challenge winners! Read more about the Citizen Power Challenge here.

The post How Books Inspire Action: The Citizen Power Project appeared first on First Book Blog.

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5. Embracing the Importance of Our Work as Educators

This is our first-ever full-team statement to our community.

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6. The Six Week Check-in

Many of us are fast approaching the sixth week of school. Many of us consider that the first of countless milestones in our school year. Six weeks in, routines are beginning to solidify,… Continue reading

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7. Welcoming Week: Q&A with Author Anne Sibley O’Brien

Welcoming Week_I'm New Here

Welcoming Week is a special time of year. Communities across the country will come together to celebrate and raise awareness of immigrants, refugees and new Americans of all kinds. Whether it’s an event at your local art gallery or showing support on social media, the goal is to let anyone new to America know just how much they are valued and welcomed during what is likely a big transition.

And the biggest transitions are happening for the littlest people.

A new country, a new home, maybe even a new language — that would be enough for any kid — but a new school, too? That subject is exactly what author Anne Sibley O’Brien addresses in her book I’m New Here, new to the First Book Marketplace.

Marissa Wasseluk and Roxana Barillas of the First Book team had the pleasure of speaking with Anne about I’m New Here, the experiences of kids new to America, and what kids can do to help create a welcoming atmosphere.

Marissa: So, and I am sure you get this question all the time, but I’m curious — what inspired or motivated you to create I’m New Here?

It’s funny, it’s such a, “where would you start?” kind of question, but I don’t remember if anyone has ever asked me that point blank because I don’t recall ever putting together this answer before. Over the years of working in schools — especially working with Margy Burns Knight with our nonfiction books: Talking Walls; Who Belongs Here and other multi-racial, multicultural, global nonfiction books — I had a lot of encounters, a lot of discussions, a lot of experiences with immigrant students and I was very aware of the kinds of cross-cultural challenges that children and teachers can experience. For instance, Cambodian children show respect by keeping their eyes down and not looking in the eyes of an adult, especially a teacher. In Cambodian culture adults don’t ever touch children’s heads. So you can immediately imagine how those kinds of things would be quite challenging when a Cambodian child comes into a U.S. classroom and suddenly two of those cultural markers are not only gone, but the opposite is what they need to learn.

Somebody might put their hand on your head — it being out of concern and wanting to make a connection — or they might say “I need you to look at me now” and not recognize that that’s cultural inappropriate for a Cambodian child. So growing that kind of awareness of the challenges that immigrant children face — that was the original impetus for the book. Just collecting some of those stories and raising awareness of how many obstacles immigrant children face. From climate to traditions in speaking and in body language, to food, to learning a new language. Not just learning a new language in terms of how you speak and read and write, but also how you interact with people, how social norms work — they just face such enormous challenges. And there were originally six characters so it was trying to cover everything.

Marissa: The characters that are in the book, they cover a child from Guatemala, a child from Korea, and a child from Somalia — did you work with these specific immigrant communities when you were creating this book?

I spoke to individual experts, such as several Somali interpreters and family liaison experts who work for the multi-lingual, multicultural office of the Portland, ME public schools. So I had that kind of expert advice to respond to what I was writing. But the original ideas mostly came from my observations, my interactions with Somali students in the classrooms that I visited. And then with Korean students I met many, many Korean students here in the US and I had my own background to draw on there.

Marissa: Can you tell me a little bit more about these classrooms that you’ve visited? We talk with a lot of educators who work with Title I schools and they often talk about how reserved the English as a second language students can be. There is a silent phase that a lot of kids go through. Have you observed that and have you shared your book with any of these first generation immigrants?

It’s certainly been shared with many. I actually just shared it with a group of students in a summer school program — about seventy students from third to fifth grade who were from East African countries and some Middle Eastern countries. Most of the group were immigrants and I read the book and then we had a discussion about being new and being welcoming. Of all the student groups that I’ve worked with, they were actually the most effusive and had the most to share in that discussion about what it feels like to be new and what you can do to welcome someone.

Marissa: What were some of the suggestions?

They had all kinds of ideas about what you could say and do to make somebody feel like they were at home. You could take them around, go through a list and say, “this is your classroom, this is your teacher, this is your playground, this is your classmate.”

Roxana: You’re taking me back – a few years back I came to the United States when I was twelve from El Salvador, speaking no English. It hits close to home in terms of the importance of the work you are doing, not just for kids who may not always feel like they belong, but also for the kids who can actually help that process be an easier one.

Welcoming Week_Anne Sibley O'BrienThat is wonderful to hear. I was just struck that they had more suggestions than any group I’d worked with, they could hardly be contained. They had so much they wanted to say and I think it’s very fresh in their minds what welcoming looks like and maybe what did or what didn’t happen for them. So the list that they wrote: welcome to my class, say hi, wave, smile, hello, say this is my classroom, these are my friends, do you want to become friends? these are my parents, this is my family, show them around, this is my chair, this is my house, this is your school, this is my teacher, can you read with me? how’s it going? I live here, where do you live? do you need help? welcome to my school.

It was the specificity of it that I just loved.

And they said what it felt like to be new. These kids went beyond with the details so they said: scared, nervous, confused, happy, sad, lonely, shy, surprised. Which is what I get with any group that I talk to — but then they wrote: don’t know how to write, don’t know everybody, don’t know what to do, don’t know what they’re saying, don’t know what to say, don’t think you fit in, embarrassed, don’t know how to read books, don’t know what to think, don’t know how to play games, don’t know how to respond, don’t know how to use the computer. So that is a really rich, concrete list.

Marissa: What about educators, how have educators responded to your book?

It’s been pretty phenomenal. The book is in its third printing and it’s just a year old. Actually, it went into its third print run in June. That is by far the fastest that any book of mine has taken off, so there seemed to really be a hunger. There are quite a number of books about an individual immigrant’s story, but I think what people are responding to, what they found useful, is that this book is different because it’s a concept book about the experience of being new and being welcoming, and in that way it works. A particular story can make a deep connection even if your experience is quite different, you recognize things that are similar. But to have one book that outlines what the experience is like, it is very good for discussions. I’ve done more teacher conferences and appearances, especially in the TESOL community, than I did before. Normally I do a lot of schools where I talk to students, but in the past year the majority of my appearances have been for teacher conferences.

Marissa: Have any of them come up to you and told you how it’s resonated with them? Have you met any educators who are immigrants themselves?

Yes, definitely! The TESOL community is full of people who have immigrant backgrounds. I shouldn’t say full, but there is quite a healthy percentage of the TESOL community who come from that background themselves. Partly because schools often recruit someone who’s bilingual, so you tend to get a lot of wonderful richness of people’s life experiences. They might be second generation or they might not have come as a child but they definitely make a strong connection to children who have that experience. I remember, in particular, some very moving statements that people made standing in line waiting to have a book signed. Talking about how it was “their story” or people talking about and being reminded of their own students. When I talked about the book they were in tears thinking about their own students.

Marissa: Ideally, how would you like to see your book being used in a classroom or a child’s home?

I think I see it in two ways. First, for a child who has just arrived and who is in a situation where things are strange; to be able to recognize themselves and see that their experience is reflected in something that makes them feel less lonely and that there is hope. Many, many people have gone through this experience and it can be so difficult but you can get through.

And to the children who are not recent immigrants, who have been part of a community for generations; that it would spark empathy for children,  for them to imagine what it would be like if they had that experience. Starting with that universal experience of somehow being new somewhere and to recognize, “oh, I remember what that felt like” and imagine if it was not only a new school, but a new country and a new language and a new culture and new food and new religions and on and on and on. Particularly for them to imagine what they could do, concretely, to examine what the new children are doing and to see how hard they are working, the effort that they are making. And also how their classmates are responding so that the outcome is the whole group building a community together.

To learn more about I’m New Here and Anne’s perspective, watch and listen as she discusses the book and her insights into the experiences of immigrant children.

The post Welcoming Week: Q&A with Author Anne Sibley O’Brien appeared first on First Book Blog.

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8. 3 Steps to Building A Learning Community: Vision. Intention. Purpose.

The young writers sitting in our classroom will rise above the fears and struggles of being a writer, but it will take intentional planning, repetitive teaching, daily writing, and reteaching. Writing is hard work. Students don't become writers because we have writing workshop. Writers become writers because teachers have clear intentions and a vision of what's possible.

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9. Unpacking the Power of Talk: Starting with What Matters Most

Early on, as a writing teacher, I didn't realize the power that talk plays in the writing workshop. Over the years, I have learned there are many benefits from intentionally making talk a priority.

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10. New Blog Series: Starting with What Matters Most in Writing Workshop

Over the next eight days, my friends and I at Two Writing Teachers will share what goes into developing writers who work with agency, purpose, and independence in our Blog Series: Starting With What Matters Most. Set a reminder or mark your calendars, you won't want to miss a day of these timely posts.

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11. Live From #KidLitPalooza!

Stay tuned this morning as I add to this post about #KidLitPalooza, live from this amazing event that connects children's authors to students!

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12. Unwholly bound: Mother Teresa’s battles with depression

A psychiatrist’s couch is no place to debate the existence of God. Yet spiritual health is an inseparable part of mental or psychological health. Something no psychiatrist should regard with clinical indifference. But what does spiritual or religious health involve? This can’t just include normalized versions of monistic theism – but the entire set of human dispositions that may be thought of in spiritual terms.

The post Unwholly bound: Mother Teresa’s battles with depression appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Local opera houses through the ages

Nineteenth and twentieth Century opera houses are finding new lives today. Opera houses were once the center of art, culture, and entertainment for rural American towns--when there was much less competition for our collective attention.

The post Local opera houses through the ages appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. “My Home, Your Home” Book Sample Illustrations

“My Home, Your Home”, an educational children’s book from Cloverleaf books, and some samples below.

mhyh cover&spread1

mhyh spread 2

mhyh page1

mhyh page4

mhyh page2

mhyh page3

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15. Charlie Kaufman’s Adult Stop-Motion ‘Anomalisa’ Earns Raves At Telluride and Venice

"Anomalisa" is the first feature film from TV animation producer Starburns Industries.

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16. #ACT4TEENS: USING COMMUNITY INFORMATION TO SUPPORT ADVOCACY

act4teens

In this podcast (click through to download or connect to online player), LeeAnna Mills, Former Legislative Chair and Past President of the Alabama School Library Association, librarian at Northside Middle School and District Library Media Coordinator for Tuscaloosa County Schools, discusses how you can use data to reach administrators, school board members, and legislators in support of library services for young people.

Wendy Stephens is a member of the YALSA Advocacy Resources Taskforce.

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17. Perceiving dignity for World Mental Health Day

Each year in July, I greet a new group of post-doctoral psychiatric trainees ('residents,' 'registrars') for a year's work in our psychiatric outpatient clinic. One of the rewards of being a psychiatric educator is witnessing the professional growth of young clinicians as they mature into seasoned, competent, and humanistic psychiatrists.

The post Perceiving dignity for World Mental Health Day appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. Essential Thoughts: Building a Community of Writers — Part of #TWTBlog’s Throwback Week

Throwback week continues on Two Writing Teachers. Today, Anna throws back to Deb, who shared how to foster deep writing community bonds back in August.

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19. A Tale of Teachers: Collaboration, Community, Connection

Once upon a time, there was a teacher who became a better teacher by connecting with other passionate educators...

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20. Poetry Friday -- Community

I'm writing a haiku-a-day again this December (inspired loosely by Bob Raczka's The Santa Clauses). I wrote a haiku-a-day last December, too, but it was different last year.

I wrote alone.

This year, I invited my Poetry Month Partner in Craziness, Carol (Carol's Corner) to join me. I put my links out on Twitter and one of my other Poetry Month Partners in Craziness, Steve (Inside the Dog) agreed to come along. A new writing partner, Leigh Anne Eck (A Day in the Life), has joined in. My students (well, some of them) are writing a haiku-a-day between arrival and morning announcements/beginning of content time.

I am not alone.

And as if I needed to be bludgeoned repeatedly with the idea before it would truly sink in -- I am learning (again) that while the writing habit opens my eyes to the world, encourages me to NOTICE (my One Little Word for the year), and instills discipline, it is the community and the conversations that make it a writing LIFE.

My haikus and the rich conversations in the comments are at Poetrepository, and you can also find us on Twitter: @carwilc @insidethedog @dogtrax @Teachr4 @LoreeGBurns

Here is my haiku for today:


Birthday Wish

I'll be a ginkgo--
golden leaves circling my feet,
one ring wiser.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015


Buffy has the roundup today at Buffy's Blog. The Call For Poetry Friday Roundup Hosts (January-June 2016 edition) post is live here.





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21. New Sketchbook Skool Class by Penelope Dullaghan

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 12.26.59 PM

“Illustration Friday friends, hello!
 
I wanted you to know that I am teaching at Sketchbook Skool for the first time! Sketchbook Skool is an online video course (or ‘kourse” as they say at Sketchbook Skool) that lasts six weeks and has a different teacher every week. We made more than a dozen videos in which I appear telling stories, sharing pages of my sketchbooks and doing some demos. Here’s a video trailer about the kourse
 
You can learn all about the Skool at their website, sketchbookskool.com
During the week I am teaching, I will be right there with you, answering questions and comments and admiring the artwork you’ll share! It’ll be so fun!
 
One of the things I love about SBS is the wonderful, supportive community that has developed there. There are thousands of people from around the world, some are professional artists and illustrators, some are complete beginners, all collaborating and encouraging each other. It’s a great experience I think you’ll love, too!
 
Enrollment starts today and the kourse begins on January 15th. I hope to see you in klass!
 
As a special treat (and for the very first time ever) Sketchbook Skool is offering a 20% discount only to members of Illustration Friday — like you.  When you check out, just use the code: Pennyatskool2016 and do it soon — it expires on January 15th.
 
Can’t wait to begin!”
-Penelope Dullaghan

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22. World Read Aloud Day -- Seven Strengths Countdown



LitWorld is counting down the weeks until World Read Aloud Day by highlighting a different strength of read aloud each week.

This week is BELONGING WEEK ("When has reading helped you feel like you belong to a community?")

In my classroom, the books I read aloud bring the class together as a community -- a truth this year in particular.



We started the year with Dan Gemeinhart's THE HONEST TRUTH (I reviewed it last year here.) When we finished, I suggested to the class that we share a "lighter" book next. They were vehemently against it -- they begged me for another book with hard issues that they would feel in their hearts. Another book that would make them gasp with fear, and cry with relief. Another book that would put them in the shoes of a character  who is dealing with hard problems.

We had a chance to Skype with Dan Gemeinhart, and he showed us the arc of his next book, SOME KIND OF COURAGE (available January 26). In a stroke of good luck, the arc arrived the next day in a box full of arcs from Scholastic.



SOME KIND OF COURAGE was our second read aloud of the year, and it was all kinds of magic. The book can be compared to THE HONEST TRUTH in its theme, characters, and story arc. Both are stories of quests, but SOME KIND OF COURAGE is historic fiction, rather than realistic fiction. Gemeinhart has the ability to write memorable scenes, and his mixture of sad or nerve-wracking scenes with humorous scenes is masterful. We are Skyping again this Friday, and we feel privileged to be one of the first classes to give him feedback on this book. I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say that we'll be giving him two thumbs up!

Because of a change of schedule, four of my students were going to be missing read aloud two out of the four days we have it. I was completely flummoxed about what I should do. There was just no other time in the schedule when I have them that I could work it in, and I didn't want to deny all the rest of the kids just for those four. I was stuck. Then their teacher came to me and shared that they are feeling the same way. Missing read aloud was a non-negotiable for them. So we worked it out so that my four can stay for read aloud and not miss anything in their other class. WHEW!

If that's not a testament to the strength of our classroom community around our read aloud, I'm not sure what is!



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23. StoryMakers | Discovering Wes Moore

STORYMAKERS Wes Moore Image

Discovering Wes Moore is the YA follow up to education advocate, veteran, and Rhodes Scholar Wes Moore’s New York Times bestseller, The Other Wes Moore. The Other Wes Moore is the story of two men with very different paths. While one is heading off to Oxford University on a scholarship, the other was sentenced to life in prison. The Other Wes Moore traces their paths from childhood to adulthood. What went wrong in the life of the other Wes Moore? Discovering Wes Moore is an accessible version of the bestseller, for young readers, requested by teachers.

This Way Home is Wes Moore’s first young adult work of fiction, with Shawn Goodman. Moore and Goodman’s book is set in Baltimore, which has been in the news most recently due to several protests in response to police brutality. Elijah and his friends live for basketball but a street gang threatens to take that all away if the team doesn’t rep their colors. What happens if they don’t give in? What happens when a community takes a stand?

I want them [young people] to say, “He gets my life. He gets what I see. He understands what I know.”  — Wes Moore on writing This Way Home

Watch this episode to learn more about Wes’ books, what he is doing to further his service mission as a veteran, and how he’s making attending college a bit easier for young people in Maryland.

We’re giving away three (3) signed copies of Discovering Wes Moore and This Way Home. Enter to win this mini bundle, now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT DISCOVERING WES MOORE

Discovering Wes MooreDiscovering Wes Moore Book Cover by Wes Moore
Published by Ember

For fans of “The Wire “and “Unbroken “comes a story of two fatherless boys from Baltimore, both named Wes Moore. One is in prison, serving a life sentence for murder. The other is a Rhodes Scholar, an army veteran, and an author whose book is being turned into a movie produced by Oprah Winfrey.

Two men. One overcame adversity. The other suffered the indignities of poverty. Their stories are chronicled in “Discovering Wes Moore,” a book for young people based on Wes Moore’s bestselling adult memoir, The Other Wes Moore.

The story of the other Wes Moore is one that the author couldn t get out of his mind, not since he learned that another boy with his name just two years his senior grew up in the same Baltimore neighborhood. He wrote that boy now a man a letter, not expecting to receive a reply. But a reply came, and a friendship grew, as letters turned into visits and the two men got to know each other. Eventually, that friendship became the inspiration for “Discovering Wes Moore,” a moving and cautionary tale examining the factors that contribute to success and failure and the choices that make all the difference.

ABOUT THIS WAY HOME

This Way HomeThis Way Home Book Cover by Wes Moore with Shawn Goodman
Published by Delacorte Press/Random House

One young man searches for a place to call home in this gut-wrenching, honest novel from New York Times bestselling author Wes Moore with Shawn Goodman. Elijah Thomas knows one thing better than anyone around him: basketball. At seventeen, he’s earned the reputation of a top-level player, one who steps onto the court ready for battle, whether it’s a neighborhood pickup game or a tournament championship. What Elijah loves most about the game is its predictability: if he and his two best friends play hard and follow the rules, their team will win. And this formula has held true all way up to the summer before their senior year of high school, when a sinister street gang, Blood Street Nation, wants them to wear the Nation’s colors in the next big tournament.

The boys gather their courage and take a stand against the gang, but at a terrible cost. Now Elijah must struggle to balance hope and fear, revenge and forgiveness, to save his neighborhood. For help, he turns to the most unlikely of friends: Banks, a gruff ex-military man, and his beautiful and ambitious daughter. Together, the three work on a plan to destroy Blood Street and rebuild the community they all call home.

This Way Home is a story about reclamation. It’s about taking a stand for what matters most, and the discovery that, in the end, hope, love, and courage are our most powerful weapons.

ABOUT WES MOORE

Via theotherwesmoore.com Wes Moore is a youth advo­cate, Army com­bat vet­eran, social entre­pre­neur, and host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Win­frey Net­work. His first book The Other Wes Moore became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Jour­nal bestseller.

Born in 1978, Wes and his sis­ters were raised by their wid­owed mother. Despite early aca­d­e­mic and behav­ioral strug­gles, he grad­u­ated Phi Theta Kappa in 1998 as a com­mis­sioned offi­cer from Val­ley Forge Mil­i­tary Col­lege, and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity in 2001, where he also played foot­ball and earned a bachelor’s degree in Inter­na­tional Rela­tions. He then became a Rhodes Scholar, study­ing Inter­national Rela­tions at Oxford University.

After his stud­ies, Wes, a para­trooper and Cap­tain in the United States Army, served a com­bat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Air­borne Divi­sion. Wes then served as a White House fel­low to Sec­re­tary of State Con­deleezza Rice. He serves on the board of the Iraq Afghanistan Vet­er­ans of Amer­ica (IAVA), The Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity, and founded an orga­ni­za­tion called STAND! that works with Bal­ti­more youth involved in the crim­i­nal jus­tice system.

Wes is com­mit­ted to help­ing the par­ents, teach­ers, men­tors, and advo­cates who serve our nations youth. A por­tion of all book pro­ceeds for “The Other Wes Moore” are being donated to City Year and the US Dream Academy.

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