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Chrystal D. Giles

Take Back the Block


Brand-new kicks, ripped denim shorts, Supreme tee—

Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That—and hanging out with his crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games—is what he wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to.

But when a real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes. The grownups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they're doing is arguing. Even Wes's best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. Wes isn't about to give up the only home he's ever known. Wes has always been good at puzzles, and he knows there has to be a missing piece that will solve this puzzle and save the Oaks. But can he find it . . . before it's too late?

Exploring community, gentrification, justice, and friendship, Take Back the Block introduces an irresistible 6th grader and asks what it means to belong—to a place and a movement—and to fight for what you believe in.



This book made me want to step aside, hand over the mic, and listen to Wes. A must-read. —Mariama J. Lockington, author of For Black Girls Like Me

* Outstanding. —School Library Journal, Starred Review

* "Transformative." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Filled with hope, friendship, and grit. —Stacy McAnulty, best-selling author of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

Timely and penetrating. —Kelly Starling Lyons, author of Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations

About the Author
Chrystal D. Giles is a champion for diversity and representation in children's literature, and made her debut with Take Back the Block, which has received multiple starred reviews. Chrystal was a 2018 We Need Diverse Books mentee, and her poem "Dimples" appears in the poetry anthology Thanku: Poems of Gratitude (Millbrook). Chrystal lives outside Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and son and is currently working on her next middle grade novel. Visit her at and @creativelychrys.