Poverty

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

If I Ever Get Out of Here centers around Lewis Blake, a Native American teenager in a gifted junior high program. Lewis might be academically successful, but he has no friends. All his white classmates don't have much to say to Lewis, and all of the kids from the reservation are just in the regular classes.

It is 1976, and living outside of Buffalo, New York, Lewis wonders if the area's teachers are going to be surprised when they find that the Native American kids are not that excited about the country's Bicentennial celebration. His family has called this land "home" for much longer than a mere two hundred years.

Punk: The Best of Punk Magazine by John Holstrom and Bridget Hurd

Punk: The Best of Punk Magazine by John Holstrom and Bridget Hurd

Punk: The Best of Punk Magazine follows the history of New York City's Bowery music scene with actual reprints of the homemade zine's existence from 1976 to 1980. What's captured on these black and white pages is an anti-movement—a reaction against the well-intentioned but ultimately toothless peace and love ethos of the late 60's.

New York was a dump, seemingly destined for ruin. Rock music was gasping for air, trying to find sustenance from the softly vacant likes of Toto, Bread, or Seals and Crofts.

John Holstom and Legs McNeil did not expect things to improve. But when they heard a new band called the Dictators, a change started to manifest. The Dictators wrote songs about hanging out at burger joints, drinking Coca-Cola for breakfast, and being "Teengenerates." It was stupid enough to also be absolutely brilliant, and it encapsulated Holstrom's and McNeil's lives like no other music they were hearing at the time.

Lee Bennett Hopkins: Poetry for Everyone

Young Lee Bennett Hopkins was an unlikely candidate to go down in the Guinness Book of World Records for having edited the most poetry anthologies ever.  He spent half his childhood in the projects of Scranton, New Jersey, and hated school.  His father left the family when Lee was fourteen, leaving him to look after his younger brother and sister.  His mother had her own problems, but she did love her children.

What made the difference for him was a special teacher who gave him hope.  In eighth grade, Mrs. Ethel Kite McLaughlin encouraged him in his writing and urged him to go to as many plays as possible, some of which he managed to see by slipping into the theatres during intermission and catching this second act. This opened a new perspective for Lee, and he was soon on different path, away from the poverty and street life he had known.

Ranchero by Rick Gavin

Ranchero by Rick Gavin

I've got me a new boyfriend and his name is Rick Gavin. I don't actually know him, but he is the author of the darkly comic debut novel Ranchero, which made me cringe and laugh and scribble "I ♥ Rick" in pink glitter pen on all my notebook covers.

Nick Reid was a cop in Southwest Virginia. Something Happened (it's never explained in the book), and Nick ends up as a repo man down in the Mississippi Delta. One day, Nick and his partner Desmond set off on a routine repo to get payment or take back a flat screen TV from Percy Dwayne Dubois.

"But Percy Dwayne wouldn't give in. No, instead he went all white-trash philosophical and figured that since the world was against him, he might as well fight it. He hit Nick over the head with a fireplace shovel, stole the mint-condition calypso coral–colored 1969 Ranchero that Nick had borrowed from his landlady, and went on a rowdy ride across the Mississippi Delta." *

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed is the story of veteran journalist Barbara Ehrenreich’s investigation into low-wage America. Before she left her normal life to pursue this project, she already knew something of the problems that these workers endure because of her research into other social issues. Ehrenreich had suggested to the editor of Harper’s Magazine that someone should do an investigative piece about this group, but she never thought at the time that she would be the person to dig deep into the lives of the working poor in America.

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Raphael is fourteen years old and living in an unnamed, third-world country in Andy Mulligan's book, Trash.  He and his friend Gardo spend most of their days picking through the huge trash pile looking for everyday items and food.   Raphael and Gardo know that when the trash is dumped from the wealthy part of town they will have a heyday.  Most of the children in Raphael's village drop out of school to spend their day sifting through the trash to help support their families.  Families see school as a waste of time when their children could be helping out in a more productive manner with the trash picking.

The Jungle

By by Upton Sinclair

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This 1906 bestseller shockingly reveals intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards as it tells the brutally grim story of a Slavic family that emigrates to America full of optimism but soon descends into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and despair. A fiercely realistic American classic that will haunt readers long after they've finished the last page.
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Alvin, Recollections and Reflections

By John Harding, Jr.

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Though listed in our catalog as fiction, this biography interweaves much truth in its retelling of the life of Alvin "Stack" Wormley, an actual person born in 1912 in the Northen Neck. He worked as a farmer, fisherman, oysterman, in a canning factory and fought in World War II. The author knew and liked this man and set down some of his many conversations with him. After Alvin Wormley's death, John Harding, Jr. interviewed his friends and relatives to better tell the tale of an upstanding, uncommon man.
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Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk: An Irish Tale

By Gerald McDermott

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Poor Tim and his wife Kathleen have little, not a penny or potato. When Tim goes out looking for a job he finds a group of leprechauns and demands their gold. Through his own foolishness and some trickery Tim gets more than he bargains for.

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Frank McCourt: The Man Himself

When Frank McCourt passed last month, he left behind memoirs filled with anguish, love, and dark merriment.  Personal experiences are what this Irish-American author took and shaped into works of sorrowful beauty.