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Spotlight on I Am America

It’s the storytellers that preserve a nation’s history. But what happens when some stories are silenced? The I Am America series features fictional stories based on important historical events from people whose voices have been under represented, lost, or forgotten over time. I am America has now earned two starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews. Here’s a look at the titles that make this series great.

If the Fire Comes: A Story of Segregation during the Great Depression


It’s 1935, and the Great Depression and California drought has left eleven-year-old Joseph McCoy shining shoes to help his family survive. Through his hard work and games with his sister, Joseph has figured out how to get by as one of the few black people in a mostly white community. But the order of the town is disrupted when an all-black Civilian Conservation Corps camp comes to Elsinore, sparking racial tension. It isn’t long before prejudice spreads like wildfire and threatens to force the work camp to leave. Could Joseph’s secret project save the camp and bring his family hope for the future? If not, the whole town just might go up in flames.


United to Strike: A Story of the Delano Grape Workers

by Molly Zenk

Budding reporter Tala Mendoza thinks life in 1965 Delano, California, is boring. But that’s before her father and other members of the local Filipino grape workers’ union vote to strike. While the strike brings Filipino and Mexican farmworkers together, it threatens to tear Tala and her best friend, Jasmine, apart. Can Tala and Jasmine’s relationship withstand the strain and length of the Delano Grape Strike?



Lines We Draw: A Story of Imprisoned Japanese Americans

by Camellia Lee

It’s August 1941 when Sumiko Adachi starts at a new school in Phoenix, Arizona. In spite of her first-day jitters, she finds a friendly face in Emi Kuno. But everything changes after Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, and the United States enters World War II. Suddenly the girls are faced with anti-Japanese sentiment from classmates and neighbors. When an arbitrary dividing line is drawn through Phoenix, the girls find themselves on opposite sides. Can Sumiko and Emi maintain their friendship when one of them is forced into a confinement camp, and the other is allowed to remain free?


Journey to a Promised Land: A Story of the Exodusters

by Allison Lassieur • STARRED KIRKUS REVIEW

Hattie Jacobs has a secret dream: to go to school to become a teacher. But her parents were formerly enslaved and are struggling to survive in Nashville, Tennessee, after Reconstruction. When the Jacobs family joins the Great Exodus of 1879 to Kansas, their journey in search of a better life is filled with danger and hardship. Will they make it to the Mississippi River unharmed? What will be waiting for them in Kansas, and will it live up to their dreams?

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