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Ghost by Jason Reynolds is about a boy finding a better life for himself through track. Castle, who calls himself Ghost, is coming out of a rough patch — he and his mother had to flee their home to avoid an abusive father / husband. Money is tight and Ghost feels out of place. His one joy in life is the $1 bag of salted sunflower seeds he picks up from the corner store.
All that begins to change, to expand into something more when Ghost choses to eat his sunflowers at a park where a team of kids his age are running. In an act of bravado, Ghost convinces the coach to let him run a race too and ends up on the team even though tryouts are over.
It's not that Ghost wants to be there but he has nothing better to do. He's been getting in trouble for acting out (something to be expected from a kid down on his luck and being bullied for it). What Ghost doesn't expect is that his new teammates will grow to consider him on of their own.
A few years back the local school district started a "Made in Hayward" program to encourage academic excellence from its student body. The project includes a number of different ways for children and teens to push themselves. It was easy to imagine Ghost as one of the kids here and I think the book would do well here in a classroom setting.