Get ready for some tears with this love letter to his Abuela

 Have you read Free Lunch by Rex Ogle?  It's a powerful tale about the stigma of growing up in poverty and learning that your parents' behaviors don't have to define you.  Ogle followed up with Punching Bag, and again he revisits his childhood, this time with a focus on his Abuela, his grandmother.

In his most recent memoir (publication date: September 6, 2022) Abuela, Don't Forget Me, Ogle, as an adult, grieves over his grandmother's memory loss and recounts how much his grandmother kept him going when his mother was unable to.  This is a love letter about her impact on his life and it will move you to tears.

God bless his Abuela who poured her love out on him so he had something to hold on to when life was filled with physical and emotional abuse.  God bless her for describing him as a shining example of someone with great potential rather than someone who was already defined.

I found it hard to read some parts of the book, but I've learned that some of my opinions are not matched by my students.  I think, as hard as this book was to read, that it needs to be read by students who see that survival is possible.  And that while our past shapes us, it doesn't have to be our future.

Written in verse, these books will be quickly devoured by your students.  I would add a note that this is a book to preread if you don't already do that.  You know your own students and children and their level of maturity.  This heart-achingly real book needs to be read at the right time and with the right level of understanding.  For some students, that might be a few years from now.

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