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Winner of the 2020 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award.
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.
About the Author
Rex Ogle was born and raised mostly in Texas. He says, “I was one of the poorest kids at a school for the children of the wealthy. I was on the subsidized lunch program, and mocked endlessly. This is my middle school experience, but I think it’s an important story to tell.” A former children’s book editor in New York City, Rex and his partner now enjoy much nicer weather in the Los Angeles area.
Outstanding, gracious writing and a clear eye for the penetrating truth. A mighty portrait of poverty amid cruelty and optimism.
With candor and vivid detail, Ogle’s debut captures the experience of chronic poverty in the United States...Ogle’s emotional honesty pays off in the form of complex characterization and a bold, compassionate thesis.
Heart-wrenching, timely, and beautifully written, this is a powerful and urgent work.
Ogle’s engrossing narrative is rich in lived experience.