This summer, I had the opportunity to lead a book club for a group of six rising fifth-graders. The group’s current pick is Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles.
When Wes finds out his neighborhood is at risk of demolition due to an offer from a development group, he enlists his friends to help him slow gentrification in his community. Along the way, Wes learns lessons about who he is as a person – and how his choices affect his neighbors, family, and friends.
Middle-grade realistic fiction is a genre filled with rich characters, life lessons, engaging plots, and humor. Take Back the Block has all of these attributes and more. Wes’ friend group comprises a crew of characters with their own personalities and tendencies. The lessons Wes learns are ones that will resonate with kids. Readers will find themselves brainstorming alongside Wes as he considers ways to celebrate his community and make a difference.
For more on Take Back the Block, I recommend checking out this interview with author Chrystal D. Giles on Mr. Schu’s blog. The book is a great addition to upper elementary and middle school libraries! 📚❤️