A distinctive new voice: Rex Ogle's story of starting middle school on the free lunch program is timely, heartbreaking, and true. Free Lunch is the story of Rex Ogle's first semester in sixth grade. Rex and his baby brother often went hungry, wore secondhand clothes, and were short of school supplies, and Rex was on his school's free lunch program. Grounded in the immediacy of physical hunger and the humiliation of having to announce it every day in the school lunch line, Rex's is a compelling story of a more profound hunger?that of a child for his parents' love and care. Compulsively readable, beautifully crafted, and authentically told with the voice and point of view of a 6th-grade kid, Free Lunch is a remarkable debut by a gifted storyteller.
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by Eve Bunting
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"Narrator Ram—n de Ocampo's use of accents and emotions adds much to Rex Ogle's middle school memoir. De Ocampo defines Rex's Latinx mother and her stuttering boyfriend with characteristic accents, but even more by their anger, which goes from mean to menacing. His little brother's innocent comments offer relief from the frequent tension in the story. De Ocampo excels at reflecting Rex's wide range of feelings--his shame of his family's poverty, fear of his mother's growing anger, and frustration with the prejudice of a teacher and the lack of empathy from the lunch lady, who consistently announces his free-lunch status. De Ocampo excels at portraying Rex's growing trust in his developing friendship with Ethan. Listener warning: The abuse and ugliness in this memoir are poignantly and beautifully depicted--but may be disturbing. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine"
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