Growing Up in Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz writes a monthly column of book recommendations for young readers in Growing Up in Santa Cruz--a publication for families in Santa Cruz County.

John Lewis has been a Congressional Representative for the state of Georgia since 1987, but before that, he was a major leader of the Civil Rights Movement. In this stunning graphic novel, he tells his story with the help of his aide, Aydin, and the talented graphic novelist Nate Powell. This is an incredibly powerful book, as well as an excellent example of how good a graphic novel can be.  --Flannery

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March: Book One Cover Image
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (Illustrator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781603093002
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Top Shelf Productions - August 13th, 2013

When the South began integrate their schools in the late 50’s, all attention was on nine black students joining Arkansas’s Little Rock Central High School. The Little Rock Nine became the face of a movement as they battled discrimination and hatred while trying to get an education. Melba Patillo Beals was one of those teenagers, and this searing memoir is one of the classic texts of the Civil Rights Movement. This is an incredible book, and I recommend it to all teens.  --Flannery

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Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780671866396
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Washington Square Press - February 1995

Growing up black in the South was a dangerous thing to do. Some people are kind and welcoming to all, some people are not. Stella knows this, but she figures things are okay, as there hasn’t been any trouble in a while. Then one summer, that all changes. Her father wants to take the test to vote. The Klan is becoming active again. And Stella is there, watching, listening, learning, and writing it all down. This is a moving, uplifting story of family, community, and strength in the face of the worst kind of adversity.  --Flannery

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Stella by Starlight Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781442494985
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books - March 29th, 2016

In the late 1880’s, a call went out across America: Free land in Oklahoma, for any who will settle it. Many of those who rushed to claim that land were newly freed slaves, eager for a fresh start in a new place, and filled with the fire and hope required to survive settling the frontier. Based on her family’s own history, Joyce Carol Thomas has written a beautiful book that tells of that call and the hope that came with it. This lovely, lyrical book is perfect for reading out loud.  --Flannery

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I Have Heard of a Land Cover Image
By Joyce Carol Thomas, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780064436175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - January 5th, 2000

Long before the Civil Rights Movement, Ida B. Wells stood up and took a stand against discrimination. Growing up during Reconstruction, Wells saw what life could have been like for African Americans, and when it ended, she used the power of the printed press to advocate for change. In addition to fighting for black rights, Wells fought for the women’s right to vote. This wonderful picture book by noted author Walter Dean Myers is a fitting tribute to an incredible woman.  --Flannery

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Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780060544683
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad Press - January 27th, 2015

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, and she’s very happy there with her friends and family. But there’s one thing Africa can’t give her: Anna wants to see snow! This is a sweet, fun book about a charming, clever girl. If you’ve got a young reader who’s burned through Ivy & Bean, Judy Moody, or Junie B. Jones, give them the Anna Hibiscus series, and they’ll find a kindred spirit!  --Flannery

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Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus! Cover Image
By Atinuke, Lauren Tobia (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9781610670081
Availability: Special Order
Published: Kane/Miller Book Publishers - March 2011

This book was given to me when I was dealing with my first really serious bought of depression, and it gave me a life raft. Told partly in tapes recorded by a teen girl who committed suicide and partly from the perspective of the boy listening to them, it might seem like a book about a girl who kills herself is the last thing you should give a severely depressed teen girl, but it’s ultimate message is that suicide isn’t an answer. It saved me, and it has saved others. --Flannery
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Th1rteen R3asons Why Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781595141880
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Razorbill - June 14th, 2011

I think Miss Rumphius is a perfect children’s book. Based on a real woman, it tells the story of a lady who spends her youth adventuring, and her elder days scattering lupine seeds wherever she goes—making the world a more beautiful place. I love the message that something as small as scattering seeds can bring such joy to the world, and Cooney’s gorgeous illustrations bring me joy.
  --Flannery

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Miss Rumphius: Story and Pictures Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780140505399
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - November 6th, 1985

Honestly, almost any Bill Peet book could go on this list. Clever, funny, with silly rhyming words to rival Dr. Seuss, Bill Peet’s books are perfect for children. His colored pencil drawings are wonderful, and his stories have a flow and cadence that makes them perfect for reading out loud.  --Flannery

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The Wump World Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780395311295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 27th, 1981

This is my favorite Roald Dahl book. For one, what child’s dream isn’t to be in a candy factory like that? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is sweet and heartwarming, dark and funny. I tear up every time I read the part where Charlie finds the golden ticket. To me, this is pure literary magic.  --Flannery

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780142410318
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - August 16th, 2007

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