Calvary (2014)


Written & Directed by: John Michael McDonagh

Setting: Ireland

Calvary (also Golgotha) was, according to the Gospels, a site immediately outside Jerusalem’s walls where Jesus was crucified..

“I first tasted semen when I was seven years old.”

This jarring, heartwrenching opening line is spoken to Father James (Brendan Gleeson), in the confessional, by a parishioner. Although we see grief and compassion in his face, Father James — who communicates in dry, witty retorts — is at a loss for an empathetic response.

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Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie



Paperback, 307 pages

Published: 2005 by Harper Perennial (1st published 2003)

Setting: Nigeria

Literary Awards: Man Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist (2004), Orange Prize Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2004), John Llewellyn Rhys Prize Nominee (2004), Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction (2004), Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book Overall (2005)


Nigeria teeters on the brink of a political coup. This instability has been provoked by the government’s harsh repression of free speech; journalists are risking their lives to stand up for freedom. Wrapped within this larger story is the tale narrated by 15-year-old Kambili, who watches her family’s stability unravel after her brother Jaja makes his own bid for freedom.

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Marcelo in the Real World by Francesco X. Stork



Hardcover, 312 pages

Published: March 1st 2009, Arthur A. Levine Books (1st published March 1, 2008)

Setting: Massachusetts

Literary Awards: Schneider Family Book Award for Teen Book (2010), South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2011), Sakura Medal Nominee for High School Book (2010), Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award (ALAN/NCTE) Nominee (2010), Voya Perfect Ten (2009), The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky Long List (2011), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2010)


Seventeen-year-old Marcelo, who has neurological differences similar to Asperger’s Syndrome, will soon start his senior year of high school. His father’s income as founding partner of a law firm has provided the opportunity to attend Paterson, an excellent school for individuals with disabilities. There, Marcelo has been accepted for who he is and allowed as much time as he needs to process what’s going on in his environment and finish tasks. This is a place where Marcelo isn’t rushed and feels accepted and appreciated for who he is.

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