JOHNNY GET YOUR GUN by John Ball
When a nine-year-old boy shoots an older child, a race war is ignited between militant blacks and racist whites of 1960s Pasadena. Follow black homicide detective Virgil Tibbs as he investigates the scene of the conflict involving riots, brutalities, a chase through Disneyland, and a heartwarming—and heartbreaking—scene that takes place in the baseball stadium of the former Los Angeles Angels. Here you will find childhood gone awry, racism that ought to shock but in context does not (we know it too well), and political conflicts that add fuel to the fire.
ON TWO FEET AND WINGS by Abbas Kazerooni
Abbas Kazerooni is not yet ten, but he’s suddenly forced to leave his parents, his friends—his entire world—and flee Tehran. The Iran-Iraq war is at its bloodiest, and the Ayatollahs who rule Iran have reduced the recruitment age for the army. If Abbas doesn’t escape, it’s almost certain that he will be drafted and die fighting for a regime that has stripped his family of all they have. On his own in the strange, often frightening city of Istanbul, Abbas grows up fast—with little more than his wits to guide him. He must conquer difficult things: how to live on his own, how to navigate a foreign city and culture when he doesn’t speak the language, and, most importantly, how to judge who is a friend and who is an enemy. Facing the unexpected as well as the everyday challenges of life on his own, Abbas walks a tightrope of survival—yearning to please the demanding father he has left behind, yet relishing his new found independence. His quick thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and the kindness of strangers allow him to make the best of his dire situation in surprising ways. Does he have what it takes to not only survive against these challenging odds but achieve his parents’ ultimate dream for him: a visa to England, and the safety it represents? This compelling true story of one young boy’s courage provides a powerful child’s-eye view of war, political tumult, and survival.