Hey everyone, Talia here! This week, I’m shaking things up and talking about books that deal with tough topics.
Books featured in this Book Talk:
Wow, that book was really tough and sometimes…
Well, okay, in all seriousness, I know that I recommend a lot of books about fantasy, and animals, and art, and fun things.
But sometimes the absolute best books that I have ever read are books that have to deal with tough topics.
I know everyone has a different life story, but sometimes it’s just really helpful to read a book about something bad, something that people have to go through.
And it can open your eyes to how life is for other people, or if you’re going through those situations, it can make you feel less alone.
And that’s why I like to read tough books sometimes.
This one was pretty tough, but I’d read it again, and maybe I will.
Just, might wanna have some more tissues on hand, just in case.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Book Talk with Talia.
In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking all about tough topics.
And by that, I just mean parts of life that everyone goes through that might not be talked about so much.
Getting to read about other people or characters that are going through the same things that you’re going through can help you feel not alone.
And most importantly, if you’ve never gone through anything like this before, it’s just important to kind of put yourself in other people’s shoes.
So even though these books aren’t all happy all the time, that’s kind of how life is.
So it’s important to check these kinds of books out too.
But before I get into the books, don’t forget to subscribe to the Shelf Stuff channel so that you don’t miss a single one of my book talks.
Make sure to hit the post notification bell so you’re always notified whenever I post, and yeah, let’s get right into the books.
One book that highlights mental illness and a bit of LGBTQ discovery is Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby.
This book opens with 11-year-old Fig worried and embarrassed because her dad just showed up to her art class acting very strangely.
Fig is used to her dad having some bad moments.
He actually has an un-diagnosed case of bipolar disorder.
But even though Fig has kind of learned to help take care of her dad when he can’t take care of himself, that’s not the typical family situation.
Her dad is a single father, and because he made a scene at her school, social services had to be called.
Now Fig is terrified that she’s going to be separated from her dad, and all she wants to do is understand why his brain works in the way it does so maybe she can help him.
So to back it up, Fig’s dad was actually an accomplished musician.
He was a piano player.
And even though Fig is not very artistic and would rather stick to math and science, she becomes totally obsessed with going into the art world to kind of get into the artist’s mind to see if she can understand her dad better.
In particular, Fig becomes kind of obsessed with researching Vincent van Gogh for one of her art projects.
Because she thinks that the struggles Vincent van Gogh had kind of parallel the struggles that her dad had with this mental illness.
She thinks that if she can understand van Gogh, she might be able to understand and maybe even cure her dad.
This book goes to so many different places, what with Fig’s dad’s mental health, Fig actually figuring out her own sexuality because she starts to have a crush on a girl that works at the library, and a lot more that I will not spoil, but you’ll definitely wanna check this one out.
And that was Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby.
If you’re looking for a book that deals with issues of race and activism, you might wanna check out A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée.
In this book, 12-year-old Shayla is good.
She does not like to get in trouble, and she likes to follow all of the rules.
But now that Shay is middle school, everything is starting to get a little more intense.
There’s drama brewing with her friend group, drama with boys, and even drama, or issues, I should say, in the community.
Shayla is black, and even though she is a strict rule follower, her older sister, Hannah, isn’t.
So Hannah is actually involved in Black Lives Matter, and she’s okay with protesting and activism so long as good change comes out of it.
But when a police officer shoots a black man near Shayla’s neighborhood, at first Shayla doesn’t wanna get involved at all.
Eventually the police officer is found not guilty, and Shayla can’t really ignore that.
Shayla decides to wear a black armband on her arm in order to support Black Lives Matter.
Unfortunately the armband kind of starts to put Shayla in a position she hasn’t been in before.
Her school starts seeing her differently, and she might even get in trouble for showing her support.
As a rule follower, this is a lot for Shayla to take in, but she knows that what she’s doing is right, so she doesn’t wanna stand down either.
This book definitely explores what it’s like to break the rules for the right reasons.
And that was A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée.
One book that deals with the loss of a parent and the family struggles that come from that is Sweeping Up the Heart by Keven Henkes.
This book starts with 12-year old Amelia really wanting to go to Florida for Spring Break like everyone else in the class.
But Amelia’s emotionally distant professor father says no.
So now Amelia is stuck at home for Spring Break with her father and babysitter.
The good news is Mrs O’Brien, the babysitter, actually really loves Amelia and has been kind of a family friend ever since Amelia’s mom died when she was two.
But because Amelia was so young when her mother died, she’s never really missed her or remembered her.
The one thing she does know is that her mother’s death is probably part of the reason why her dad is so distant from her.
Amelia is convinced that her father put the love that he had for her mother away, and that’s why he is the way he is.
So at first, Spring Break feels like it’s going to be really boring, but then Amelia meets a boy named Casey at her neighborhood art studio.
Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, so that’s kind of exciting enough on its own.
But Casey also sees a woman who looks a lot like Amelia’s dead mother.
Amelia and Casey think that this mysterious woman could potentially be the spirit of Amelia’s mother.
So they decide to go on a quest to figure out who she really is.
And that was Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes.
A book that tackles bullying, LGBTQ discovery, and a little magic is Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender.
In this book, 12-year-old Caroline is known as the Hurricane Child, because she was actually born during a hurricane.
But where she lives, on Water Island, being a Hurricane Child is unlucky, and Caroline has had a lot of bad luck throughout her life.
When Caroline was younger, her mom left home one day and never came back.
Caroline is bullied at her school by both students and teachers.
And weirdest of all, ever since Caroline almost drowned when she was younger, a strange spirit that only she can see has been following her around.
But good news finally comes Caroline’s way when a new girl starts at her school named Kalinda.
Even though the other students always treat Caroline horribly, saying she smells and other unnecessary things, Kalinda doesn’t see her that way.
Kalinda is actually really nice to Caroline, and they end up becoming friends.
Caroline starts to have a bit of a crush on Kalinda too, and they work together to try and figure out why Caroline’s mom left the way she did.
I’d also like to point out that this book takes place in the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, which is a lifestyle I’ve never personally seen in a book before, so definitely really interesting there.
And Kalinda is actually from the Barbados as well.
And that was Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender.
If you wanna understand what it might be like for someone who has to go into foster care, you might wanna check out Mostly the Honest Truth by Jodie J Little.
In this book, 11-year-old Jane is not like most other kids her age because her dad is an alcoholic.
Jane has been put in foster care three times already for 12-day stints while her dad goes to rehab.
This time around, Jane hurt her hand while her dad was actually passed out drunk.
So now she has to go to 12-day foster care, again, for the fourth time.
But despite her dad’s problems, Jane loves her pop, as she likes to call him, and she is just counting down the days until she can leave foster care and be with him again.
But this time around, her foster care experience is actually a little different than it usually is, and a little better, too.
Jane’s foster mom, Officer Dee, really cares for her.
And the town that she’s staying in, Three Boulders, is such an inviting and welcoming community.
Jane starts to make friends in Three Boulders, and she starts to think differently about the life that she has back home.
When Jane ends up having to tell the truth about how her hand really got hurt, she starts to realize that as much as she loves her pop, their relationship might not be healthy for her.
And that was Mostly the Honest Truth by Jody J Little.
A book that might give you a different perspective on your teachers and classmates is The Unteachables by Gordon Korman.
This book is a little interesting because it’s told from both the perspectives of the students and some of the faculty at Greenwich Middle School.
The main story is that an eighth grade class is considered the unteachables.
The students in the class have behavior problems, they get into trouble, and they’re basically the hardest seven students to teach in the school.
Meanwhile, Zachary Kermit is a 55-year-old teacher on the verge of retiring.
Mr. Kermit used to love his job, but he got caught up in a student cheating scandal a long time ago, and he’s kind of lost his love for teaching ever since.
To the surprise of everyone, throughout the school year, Mr. Kermit and these seven unteachable students start to kind of get along.
Both Mr. Kermit and the students realize that they’re kind of giving each other a chance to redeem themselves.
Mr. Kermit starts to care about teaching again, and the students feel like they finally have a teacher that actually understands and wants them to succeed.
Like I mentioned, this book is told from multiple perspectives, so you get a really good, close look at Mr. Kermit, the students in the class, and even one of the old students that Mr. Kermit had that was a part of the student cheating scandal.
With things set up the way they are with Mr. Kermit and the Unteachables, this is probably going to be one of the craziest years ever at Greenwich Middle School.
And that was the The Unteachables by Gordon Korman.
If you’re looking for a book that tackles keeping family secrets, you might wanna check out One Speck of Truth by Caela Carter.
In this book, 12-year-old Alma has never known much about her father.
Alma knows that her dad was Portuguese and that he died soon after she was born, but that’s basically it.
Alma’s mom won’t even tell Alma where her dad is buried.
So Alma and her best friend, Julia, end up going to the cemeteries around town to try and find her dad’s headstone.
It’s really sad, and unfortunately she can never find the headstone, so she’s just left with a ton of questions about her dad that go unanswered.
Even though Alma doesn’t know much about her dad, she does know about her stepdad, Adam, who joined the family when she was ten.
Adam really cares about Alma, but he unexpectedly moves out, and even though Alma tries to get her mom to tell her why Adam left, her mom won’t tell her.
Out of nowhere she ends up surprising Alma by saying that they’re gonna move to Portugal.
And even though it’s a bit crazy, Alma thinks that this might be her one chance to find out about her dad.
When she gets to Portugal, Alma learns that she has family she never knew about, was never even told about.
And when she tries to find out about her dad, she realizes that truth is a lot more complicated than she could have ever thought.
And that was One Speck of Truth by Caela Carter.
And those are all of the books on tough stuff that I have for you today.
But as always, leave a comment in the section down below if you have any other books that you absolutely love that kind of go into some of these tough topics.
And don’t forget to subscribe to this Shelf Stuff channel so that you don’t miss a single one of my videos.
Make sure to hit the post notification bell so you’re always notified whenever I post.
And please make sure to like this video so that I know you enjoyed it.
I’ll see you guys in the next Book Talk with Talia, thank you so much for watching, and goodbye.
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