Uplifting Stories for a Month of Thanks

Life lessons learned from fun books

November is a month of gratitude and being thankful, and SpiderSmart wants to turn attention to a couple novels about characters that fight injustice, learn to value their families, and appreciate the importance of knowing their own history. Also, there’s so much awesome food!

True, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora might not sound like a positive title, but once you get to know Arturo, his Cuban American family, their restaurant with his abuela’s recipes, and how the Miami neighborhood bands together to protect their local favorite place to eat from a land developer who is going to tear it all down, you’ll see why this is truly an uplifting story. Not only are Arturo’s family roots explored, but we see Arturo learning his own path in a slice of modern Florida where people from all parts of society live their uniquely American lives.

Why is it titled Maizy Chen’s Last Chance? She’s going to the town of Last Chance, Minnesota, but that’s not the only reason. It’s her grandparents’ old Chinese restaurant, Golden Palace, where Maizy will be spending the next few months, and let’s say that at first Maizy is not exactly thrilled. With her grandfather’s health in question, her mother and grandmother forever bickering, and some interesting pieces of the past arising that intrigue Maizy, the time there becomes more important. When a racist note is left on the restaurant, Maizy goes into full defensive mode, digging into the past of her family and the mysterious role Golden Palace played in the history of Chinese immigrants.

These are just two of the uplifting books we added to SpiderSmart in the last year that focus on characters learning about their family histories and their own lives balanced between that important past and dynamic present. We want all our students to broaden their understanding of all kinds of people as well as to appreciate their own amazing lives.

Read more, learn more, and feel the gratitude!