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Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers

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In a collection of personal stories and essays, award-winning and bestselling artists from Matt de la Pe�a and Veera Hiranandani to Max Brallier and R.L. Stine write about how hope always wins, even in the darkest of times.

Where does hope live?

In your family?

In your community?

In your school?

In your heart?

From a family restaurant to a hot-dog shaped car, from an empty road on a moonlight night to a classroom holiday celebration, this anthology of personal stories from award-winning and bestselling authors, shows that hope can live everywhere, even--or especially--during the darkest of times.

No matter what happens: Hope wins.

Contributors include: Tom Angleberger, James Bird, Max Brallier, Julie Buxbaum, Pablo Cartaya, J.C. Cervantes, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Pe�a, Stuart Gibbs, Adam Gidwitz, Karina Yan Glaser, Veera Hiranandani, Hena Khan, Gordon Korman, Janae Marks, Sarah Mlynowski, Rex Ogle, James Ponti, Pam Mu�oz Ryan, Ronald L.Smith, Christina Soontornvat, and R.L. Stine.

208 pages, Hardcover

First published May 10, 2022

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Rose Brock

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 77 reviews
Profile Image for Landice (Manic Femme).
233 reviews411 followers
June 15, 2022
A wonderful collection of stories for younger readers that were often just as poignant for me reading as an adult. I ended up crying 6 times while listening to this audiobook, all “good” heartfelt cries. As an added bonus, sales from this collection directly benefit the North Texas Teen Book Festival, of which the editor, Dr. Rose Brock, is a founder!

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Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,415 reviews27 followers
August 23, 2023
Thanks to Libro.FM for a free educator's copy of the audiobook.

“Everything I need to know I learned in a Thai restaurant” by Christine Soontornvat. Essays about lessons the author learned working in her parents Thai restaurant in Texas as a kid. She learned lessons about how to take the high road, how not to judge people by their appearances, how to handle problems calmly, and the value of small kindnesses. I liked all of these essays —good lessons well observed. She does address the racism she and her family endured as one of the first Asian families, or maybe the first Asian family, in the area, but the overwhelming lesson she learned was hopefulness.

“The coolness equation” by Adam Gidwitz. The author relates is history of being obsessed with being friends with cool kids, and what exactly cool is. He never did succeed while he was trying, but when he stopped trying, he was able to become his own person. If he didn’t achieve coolness, he achieved independence and imperviousness, as well as true friends. I like this one a lot because he described just how we feel in elementary and middle school, when we are so desperate to be friends with the cool kids, and we really don’t understand why. But we do remember how cruel those kids could be to people like us, over and over and over. Hopefully this essay will help kids figure out how to be their own people, who value themselves rather than needing to be valued by others to feel that they have worth.

“This can’t be happening to Gordon Korman.” Korman relates the story of his first published novel, also his first novel ever. It was written in seventh grade, for an assignment by the track coach, who was subbing for the English teacher for a semester (or something). I actually remember reading this book when I was in grad school, and realizing that the author and I were the same age, so the book was published while I was in eighth or ninth grade. I remember I felt so unaccomplished! But Korman does a really good job here of describing how it came to be, and how the writing process and publishing process affected him as a kid. Definitely a helpful story!

“I am the greatest” by James Bird. Ojibwe author Bird relates his early childhood of extreme poverty, and how his mother saved his family, and gave him hope about himself when he was in middle school and despondent because he was not good at anything at all. How she did it might seem a little suspect these days, but it was brilliant and it did work, and the message is a really good one. It is, in fact, the same message as in the “Captain Marvel” movie that had such an impact. This is another really good essay I think kids will connect with. The end of the essay is also poignant in that it points out that hope is something that you do for others. In a lot of small ways, hope happens all the time every day. I really liked that.

“Bones” by JC Cervantes. This entry is a poetic musing on the author’s encounters with one of those teachers who really touches your life. She uses the theme of “bones”to talk about the bones of stories and hopes. This one might be a little too esoteric to connect with every kid, but the ones who do will appreciate the experience.

“The day the hot dog truck came to town” by Max Brallier. This is another essay about an author’s desperate desire to be one of the cool kids in school, and all of the things that got in his way, whether it was his father showing up to his new school in the Oscar Meyer wiener truck, or his failed attempts to keep his jeans midnight black. I liked the honesty of this and the fact that the author never had a big epiphany that suddenly changed his mind about wanting to be cool. Though it is still a little sad that you can reach the age of 37 and still desperately want to be cool. I am not sure how exactly that fits into the theme of hope, except that the author realizes he has other aspects of his personality that managed to survive adolescence, and he is glad of that.

“Sweet surprise” by Hena Khan. The author describes an incident in second grade when her mother sent her to school after Eid with a Pakistani dessert to share, and none of her classmates would go anywhere near it. She describes how that affected her afterwards, but how later in life that experience helped her to understand both what other kids like her were going through, and what might help them have a better experience than she did. That was one of the reasons she started writing picture books that incorporated her religion and culture, as well as middle school books. I think that a lot of kids will find this incident completely believable from both sides, and hopefully it will help them to think before they turn their nose up at something, but if not, then hopefully they will get something else out of it.

“Letter to my daughter on her eighth grade graduation” by Pablo Cartaya. This is a lovely letter from a father to his daughter, about all the things that he loves about her, and how especially he is amazed by her dealing with the pandemic and her developing activism. I wish that all parents would write something like this for their children.

“Hope in the halls of Catholic school” by Karina Yan Glaser. In this essay, the author remembers her three years in Catholic school after previously having changed schools every year. Kids will find a lot in this to show them that schools have not changed; there is still the unspoken code of what to do and what not to do, and newcomers still feel excluded. I liked that the hope in this one was very simple and easy for any kid to do—just welcome someone new so they don’t feel so alone. Lots of great details in this one as well.

“Helpful tips for the worst week of your life” by Stuart Gibbs. Gibbs gives advice for how to cope with the grief of losing a loved one, since he and his children lost his wife three years ago. His advice is sensible and kind.

“The adventures of me and Supersquirt” by Sarah Mlynowski. The author describes her lifelong relationship with her five-years-younger sister, who was a preemie, and became her best friend. When their parents divorced, Sarah refused to move, so the sisters spent the next many many years geographically distant, but still best friends. I don’t know if kids will get as much out of this one as the others, since for half of it the main character is an adult, but their parents probably will.

“Panic at the movies” by Julie Buxbaum. The author describes how she suffered, unknowingly, from panic attacks as a child. They were brought on by going to see movies and by sleepovers. I liked how she normalized the anxiety that she felt, and realized it was connected with her rich imagination. I hope the kids reading this who suffer from anxiety will take hope from her essay.

“What’s in a name” by James Ponti. The author tries to unpack the complexity behind his name, with a family that has been repeatedly broken by divorce or other complications, and how he finally decided to stop using the name of a stepfather who had left the family years ago. This is a complicated situation, probably one that a lot of kids have to cope with, and I think it will be helpful to them to see how someone in a similar situation dealt with it.

“Colors of June” by Rex Ogle. The author had a really difficult and abusive childhood. The one person he truly loved with his grandmother, June, even though after the divorce he didn’t get to see her more than once a year. Then he heard that she had cancer. This is sad and poignant. You feel so sorry for this kid, who doesn’t seem to have many people in his corner. I liked that he found some hope after losing her, and it may be other kids in that situation will welcome that help as well.

“On hopes and dreams” by Janae Marks. The author relates how she came to be a successful writer, starting with her original dream of being on Broadway, and how she realized, after a lot of rejection, that she wasn’t willing to fight for that dream. But she does find a dream she is willing to fight for, and that is writing. This is good advice for anyone who wants to be a writer —it is a really hard career and you have to really fight for it if you want to be traditionally published.

“Major malfunction” by Tom Angleberger. The author describes his childhood of not understanding why he couldn’t stop doing certain things or why he did other things and why the kids were constantly annoyed with him. Then he learned that he was on the autism spectrum, and everything fell into place. This should give hope to other kids who are on the spectrum, and help them see that they can have a positive future.

“Hope I don’t see a ghost” by RL Stine. The author recounts the one instance in which he feels pretty sure he did see a ghost, when his elderly neighbor died. I fail to see how this fits into this collection – it is not about hope, except in hoping he doesn’t see another ghost. Not exactly helpful or hopeful.

“Victory after defeat” by Soman Chainani. The author describes his missteps on the road to becoming a writer, and how he came to write “The School for good and evil” series. It’s an interesting story, but I don’t know that I 100% agree with his conclusions that the universe helps you realize where you’re supposed to be. I don’t think most people are that lucky, frankly. And a lot of people have gigantic barriers to achieving their dreams, like poverty or racism or proximity or war. But hopefully kids won’t know that and this will give them hope when they are struggling.

“My favorite photograph” by Veera Hiranandani. The author recalls her first through fourth grade years as a golden time at a wonderful school that let her be herself and be close to nature. The memory of that wonderful time has supported her through many difficult times and years. She urges the reader to find the time in their lives when they were most themselves, and use that in the same way. This has wonderful, evocative descriptions, that made me wish that I could’ve attended that same school. And it also made me think about my own happiest place —summer camp.

“The boy in the back of the class” by Ronald Smith. The author describes how his fear about getting glasses and how people would perceive him turned out to be baseless, and how glasses improved his life beyond measure. While I liked this one, I wasn’t sure if the message was as strong as it might have been. The author tells kids who need to make similar physical changes that it’s what’s on the inside that really matters, whereas the essay seems to be saying that such changes can bring so much more richness into your life. I think that would’ve been the stronger message.

“The friend who changed my life” by Pam Munoz Ryan. The author describes how she was bullied in fifth grade, and how someone stepped up not just to help her, but to push her to stand up for herself. That led to other interesting developments that would never have happened without that one friend. This is an interesting essay, and I think kids will really understand the situation she was in, even as adults disagree with how she was forced to deal with it. It will seem strange to some people that she became friends with not only the girl who forced her to fight, but the girl she fought with, but there is a lot of truth in the complexity of middle school friendships.

“There’s more to playing ball then just playing ball” by Matt De la Pena. The author, who grew up in a working class family, tells about the time that a former client of his mom’s babysitting business invited Matt to come play basketball with his team for a weekend, a plane ride away. That led to an offer of attending the client’s school, where he was basketball coach, and improve Matt’s chances of getting a free ride to college. Matt had a big decision to make. I am not sure exactly what the message of hope is in this one, because he decided not to take the offer. I guess it was just a little unclear, but it was still a good story.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Melanie Dulaney.
1,488 reviews73 followers
June 10, 2022
H-O-P-E. Only a 4 letter word and sometimes the feeling is just as small, but in this collection of real-life stories from world-class authors, readers will absolutely know how important even a little bit of hope is. Dr. Rose Brock compiled and edited the reminiscences that span topics including death of a beloved grandmother, a school bully, the importance of one’s name, and even a ghostly encounter and each one is tied to the other with the thread of HOPE. Even when it is just a tiny flame, it can bring a person through to the other side where life is just a little bit better, richer, more meaningful and this book might help a middle grader somewhere who really needs the message that there is hope in unlikely places, sitting across the kitchen table or maybe just deep within them. Highly recommended for all tween and teen readers to encourage them, make them think, dream and, above all HOPE!

Thanks, Dr. Brock, for hosting a panel at Texas Library Association conference and providing this book, with many autographs, to librarians.

Short stories by: Tom Angleberger, James Bird, Max Brallier, Julie Buxbaum, Pablo Cartaya, J.D. Cervantes, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Stu Gibbs, Adam Gidwitz, Karina Yan Glaser, Vera Hiranandani, Hena Khan, Gordon Korman, Janae Marks, Sarah Mlynowski, Rex Ogle, James Ponti, Pam Munoz Ryan Ronald L. Smith, Christina Soontornvat, and R.L. Stine.
Profile Image for Stephanie P (Because My Mother Read).
1,174 reviews41 followers
May 11, 2022
4.5 stars

I received a free copy from the publisher for review.

There are many different reasons I love to read and many different things I am looking to get out of the experience, but one thing I am always looking for in a story is a sense of hope. So this anthology of essays about hope written by a wonderful cast of middle grade authors definitely appealed to me.

The book includes short stories of the authors overcoming hardships, experiencing pivotal moments and realizations, finding joy during difficult times, and more. Most of the personal stories that are shared are set during the authors’ own tween years and are very relatable. Even though the settings and circumstances in the stories are very different from each other, there are many similar themes that emerge. I think readers in the middle grade age range will feel very seen by these stories. They certainly brought me back to that time of my life.

Some of my favorite middle grade authors are included in the lineup and so I was most excited to read their stories, but every single story had something meaningful to offer. This book could also be a great source for kids to get ideas for other books to read next since many of the authors shared “origin stories” that led into their writing books and there would already be a little bit of connection and insight before picking up that author’s books.
Profile Image for Joan.
2,030 reviews
August 10, 2022
Uneven in quality, just like any collection of different people is going to be. The difference here is that everyone is a published author. So the difference is more in whether the experience they chose to share is interesting to me. I’m still confused as to why one author I’d have expected to like, I don’t. I didn’t like her story in this and I don’t like her books. I can’t figure out why. Others are authors of stories I have meant to read and never did. I put a few of those on hold. But ultimately, I didn’t really enjoy this all that much. My heart tends to be in longer stories, whether real or not. Recommended if you love short writing experiences, otherwise skip.
Profile Image for Kirsten.
1,016 reviews
March 22, 2023
So many inspiring essays about finding hope when you feel scared or sad or you just don’t know how you feel. I may’ve loved this book so much because I’d read novels by almost all of the twenty-two featured authors, even the cover artist! Young readers will have read many of these author’s works, too—they are the rock-stars of children’s literature. Lots of important issues addressed in a myriad of ways from divorce, being the new kid at school, bullying, losing a beloved parent or grandparent, anxiety, even learning how to find the good right where you are. Simply beautiful. Great for both boys and girls. I wish I would’ve had this book when I was in 5th, 6th and 7th grade.
Profile Image for Lori Emilson.
479 reviews
June 11, 2022
Such an interesting premise: well-known MG writers tell a personal story about hope. Each short story is unique, and all are interesting. Props to James Bird for the best opening line. I loved Christina Soontornvat’s, Matt de la Peña’s and RL Stine’s the best, but honestly, I enjoyed them all. I hope kids will too. I can certainly see teachers utilizing these in ELA instruction.
7,501 reviews28 followers
April 11, 2022
I received an electronic ARC from PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group through NetGalley.
A powerful collection of memories from a wide variety of children and young adult authors. Readers see how hope kept them motivated and helped them survive in darker times. These can be read straight through or savored one at a time. Each person will find the stories that speak to their hearts and can return to them again and again for support and encouragement.
Profile Image for Danielle.
882 reviews
September 23, 2022
"That's the thing about hope -- sometimes it falls into place before you even know what it is you're hoping for." (Gordon Korman)

I read Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration a few years ago and I really loved having an anthology available for young people to read focused around a theme of hope. I didn't know Rose Brock was working on an anthology around hope but for middle grade readers. When I saw this audiobook pop up in my free ALCs from Libro.fm, I knew I wanted to read this one.

This collection features stories from James Ponti, Somani Chainani, Christina Soontornvat, and Gordon Korman to name a few. I loved the variety of essays from a number of small lessons learned growing up in your parent's restaurant to changing friendships to analyzing the importance of names to telling the story of getting your start in publishing. (Sidenote, I had no idea Gordon Korman's first book was published while he was in middle school!) This collection, as the name suggests, is overwhelmingly heartwarming and hopeful but it's not without its moments of sadness and despair. This is a great collection to add to any upper elementary, middle school, or even high school library. These stories deserve to be read and cherished by many readers.

TW: Cancer, death, racism, panic attacks, mental illness, violence, grief
Profile Image for Dhruv.
13 reviews
April 21, 2022
This was a pretty good book. I got a digital ARC from Edelweiss, and the book surpassed my expectations. The chapters, written by many amazing authors who I love, are many challenges in life and how they overcame them. They are beautifully written and the stories about hope and what it takes to be strong whether it's a loved one's death or divorce, this book will always inspire you in many ways. Anyone who is feeling down because of a sudden turn of events in life, I would definitely recommend this book as it is truly heartwarming to anyone who reads it!
Profile Image for Jonah.
28 reviews
April 12, 2022
eARC Provided by Edelweiss

What an amazing book. This is such an amazing set of real-life stories from some of the greatest authors. The title fits the book perfectly since the book truly does make you appreciate life and understand that we can get through tough times. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with something in his life.
Profile Image for Stephanie Affinito.
Author 2 books82 followers
April 29, 2022
This book was exactly what my middle grade reading heart needed: a collection of hopeful and inspiring stories from my favorite authors: Karina Yan Glaser, Veera Hiranandani, Gordon Korman and Pam Muñoz Ryan, just to name a few. Each author told a story of hope from a time in their own lives from learning life lessons in a restaurant, deciding what it meant to be a ‘cool kid’ and learning book publishing lessons in the seventh grade. Every middle school reader needs to read this book. No, wait. EVERY reader needs to read this book as my adult heart desperately needs these messages of hope, too. It’s the perfect book for anytime reading, but it’s especially perfect for coming-out-of-a-pandemic reading.
Profile Image for Ms. Yingling.
1,721 reviews484 followers
November 7, 2022
Copy provided by the publisher

Brock continues on from Hope Nation with a collection of stories for younger readers, written by a selection of authors she knows on the vague topic of hope. Profits from this book are supporting the North Texas Teen Book Festival.

The stories are all very personal, and align fairly well with the authors' previous works. For example, R.L. Stine cleverly twists the assignment to let him write a story about hoping to see a ghost... until he actually does. Rex Ogle and James Bird tell additional stories about their difficult early years, Matt de la Pena offers a sports story, Karina Yan Glaser and Hena Khan write about their own school experiences and how they formed their personalities, and Sarah Mlyowski writes about her younger sister. Julie Buxbaum, who seems to have written primarily young adult titles but is coming out with a middle grade title in September of 2022, admits to being scared of both slumber parties and going to the movies. There are some interesting backstories of some authors who write books that aren't necessarily realistic fiction; Christina Soontornvat writes about growing up with immigrant parents who ran a restaurant and had to deal with difficult individuals, James Ponti explores his struggle with personal identy, J.C. Cervantes waxes lyrical about her relationship to the written word with a poem, Tom Angleberger writes touchingly abohow his autism spectrum was seen as a "major malfunction" when he was younger, and Max Brallier has interesting and formative experiences with large scale hot dogs.

Some authors have very specific tales, like Pam Muñoz Ryan's entry about a friend who changed her life, Adam Gidwitz's lifelong struggle with coolness, and Janae Marks' path towards writing, which adheres most closely to the theme of the book. Ronald L. Smith's essay showcases why there are so many more fantasy books for middle grade readers than one might suspect; he's not the only future author who spent most of his class time sneak reading Tolkien! Veera Hiranandani's reminiscence about a photograph that is her favorite captures a particular moment in her middle school life, and it's great to see something else from her since her Save Me a Seat was so powerful.

Some entries wax more philosophical, like Pablo Cartaya's letter to his daughter, who was was in 8th grade during 2020 and had to struggle with all of the things that the pandemic caused. Stuart Gibbs offers tips on how to deal with grief, which he sadly discovered after the unexpected death of his wife. Sonan Chainani offers a story of victory after defeat.

The real draw here, and the story that I would love to see become a full length book, is "This Can't Be Happening to Gordon Korman", which explains just how this prolific author came to write his first novel in his 7th grade language arts class, get it published, and continue on in his 40+ year career of writing for young people, which now seems to include two books every year. He's told the world about this start many times, but this deep dive into the experience is the story I didn't even know I needed. Of course, there are lots of us who write entire novels in middle school, and most of us shouldn't be encouraged to continue!

This collection reads like letters from friends, passing the time recounting their past, and will please readers who are familiar with some of the authors, and hopefully introduce some new artists. This is the first year I've had requests for short stories, so this will be a good addition to my growing collection of new tales from diverse authors.

Any objections to this are purely personal. It doesn't even make sense to say "hope wins". Hope doesn't win. Luck wins, and no, you can't make your own. Knowing people. Being in the right place at the right time. I don't really know what wins, since I have clearly not mastered the concept of winning at life. Hard work certainly does not win, although it's a more productive distraction than whining, Netflix binges, or "self-care". Hope eventually dies, because even without concrete complaints, life is just a succession of missteps and failures interspersed with tragedies. Hope is a scenic, pleasant road to certain, bitter disappointment.

But it's probably a bad idea to tell middle schoolers that. They'll find out for themselves soon enough, and won't be able to blame us for tarnishing their optimism.
Profile Image for Susan.
508 reviews3 followers
June 6, 2022
As you probably know, I love MG books. The stories are there to comfort us when we feel alone and to offer hope life can be better. With so many amazing MG books, it’s almost guaranteed middle graders will be able to find the perfect novel which is just what they need at a particular moment in their lives. I am hopeful my reviews will lead adults to those books for the children in their lives, whether it’s kids in your class, in your library or your family.

These books exist because there are so many caring, talented authors in the world who are doing their best to create the stories kids need. In HOPE WINS Rose Brock has assembled short stories from over twenty of these authors that offer hope and inspiration to middle graders. These essays show hope can be found anywhere and at any time, even when life seems really bleak. As James Bird said “Hope truly is everywhere if you look for it. Hope isn’t something you do for yourself. It’s what you do for others….And to have hope for the future, we need to help one another…it stands for Helping.Other. People. Everyday. Let’s spread hope.”

This book, with lovely cover art by Vashti Harrison, is one to read aloud with your children, or to read to a class. It will prompt many discussions and in the end, give both adults and kids hope for our world.

Many thanks to the publisher and Blue Slip Media for this beautiful book.

Profile Image for Alicia.
6,212 reviews124 followers
September 15, 2022
I read this on a recommendation from a bookish friend who is also friends with Brock- I waited to get it and dove into it headlong and fell in love with the approach each of the authors took to telling their truths with the hopefulness that we can all aspire to.

The opening with Soontornvat's was absolutely on my wavelength with her connections to growing up in the restaurant as the only Asian kid (Thai) in her Texas town but what she learned were innumerable life lessons. I think about this with my own kids and our family business.

Likewise, Gibbs' was phenomenal and since my son is the biggest Stuart Gibbs fan, I immediately told him to read it and then said he should read the whole thing. It's what he needs. He is the target audience. You just never know what will happen.

And they are all such storytellers! R.L. Stine, really, only he could have written that story!

From Cervantes' story "we're going to start with the bones".
75 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2022
This book features a collection of the personal stories of 22 authors familiar to readers of middle grade books. Each author has shared an essay based on their own experiences, many of them from their childhood or middle grade years, that shares various ways that hope can be found, even in times when it seems impossible. The stories are as diverse as those who wrote them, ranging from experiences with prejudice in a family restaurant, to a holiday celebration in a classroom, the loss of a beloved grandparent, and life lessons gained from the basketball court and playground. Readers will enjoy the insight the stories give into the lives of their favorite authors and walk away with a positive message about persevering in the face of challenges.
Profile Image for Rachel.
336 reviews3 followers
September 1, 2022
Wow. Just, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. So much to love about this book.

First, the collection of authors who contributed stories to this book was amazing. So much talent represented on these pages. I learned so much about each of them, and love them even more for sharing their hearts and personal stories in the name of providing a little hope to the reader. Second, each of these stories is true. It is very hard to find engaging non-fiction for students, but the short essay format of this book is in the same vein of Chicken Soup for the Soul, but even better because it shows that these authors, with whom we often feel disconnected, are just like us. I think there is a lot here for kids, but also for adults. I will definitely be adding it to my library shelves.
Profile Image for Deborah Zeman.
769 reviews19 followers
May 14, 2022
This was one the best books I have read this year. Where do you find hope? You can find it anywhere…at school, at a restaurant, at home, even when you think you are at your darkest, there is always a spark that brings hope to life. So many incredible authors and their stories are included in this anthology, some that I have had the chance to listen to at author panels and at book festivals. This isn’t just a book for Middle Schoolers, it’s a book for everyone. This is one I will purchase not only for my library but for my own personal collection! Hope is everywhere…when you cannot find it, it will find you.
Profile Image for Megan.
633 reviews7 followers
July 27, 2022
I received a free audio ARC of this text thanks to libro.fm and my kids and I selected it as a summer audiobook. We have had a harder time this summer getting into an audiobook as a family because the kids are off at separate activities, but this was a great choice because the short essay format made it so that if one child missed one story, it didn't really matter to the arc as a whole. As with any anthology, some pieces were stronger than others, but we particularly enjoyed the pieces by Christina Soontornvat, Adam Gidwitz, Gordan Korman, and Stuart Gibbs. Overall, a positive reading/listening experience that left our family feeling hopeful.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
530 reviews1 follower
November 10, 2022
I had assumed (wrongly) that this book would be a collection of fictional stories based on a theme of hope--some possibly semi-autobiographical. But it isn't. It's narratives from the authors about events in their lives. I see a lot of reviewers found it inspirational. I'll be honest, a great deal of it depressed me. There are stories about parental divorce, a grandmother dying of cancer, a family coping with the sudden death of their wife/mother, one author's family being evicted from their home and forced to take to the road in their car...There were good stories, but I just can't rate this.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,851 reviews28 followers
March 22, 2023
I bought this at The North Texas Teen Book Festival because I have been kicking myself for not buying Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration when I had the opportunity.
I really liked that these authors are familiar to my 6th grade students. I also liked that the stories touched me even though I'm not the target audience.
I've also used this book as a portal to add to my "to-be-read" pile. I found new authors and I've already begun work on that pile.
219 reviews
February 15, 2023
This short story collection missed the mark for me. I was expecting a book full of inspirational stories and the stories were very uneven in their quality. The collection is advertised for Young Readers. However, I wasn't clear who the audience was for some of these books. Famous authors were tasked with writing a hopeful story from their childhood from about 11-14. Some read like a story while other read like an essay reflecting back upon it. I didn't feel like some of these stories would appeal to young readers.
Profile Image for Beth.
523 reviews1 follower
April 14, 2023
3.5 stars
Great collection of hopeful stories from popular young adult and children’s authors.
I found myself looking up several of the authors and wanting to read their books after listening to their personal stories of hope.
It is validating to feel connected to an author on a personal level.
“Of course I like this author’s books-we have some things in common or we think In similar ways…”

Not all the stories were great and a couple didn’t seem related to “hope” but overall this was worth listening too. On if my favorite narrator’s read a couple if the stories (Gibson Frazier).
Profile Image for Erin.
666 reviews21 followers
June 10, 2022
This short story collection made for an excellent audiobook listen. My favorite story was The Coolness Equation by Adam Gidwitz. It was also read by the author and done with striking emotion. His retelling of his young experience at school trying to fit in was achingly relatable, and impacted me both in thinking about my own experiences as a kid and also thinking about this from a parent and teacher lens. This collection of stories will make a great addition to our school library.
Profile Image for Julie Wasmund Hoffman.
95 reviews1 follower
December 4, 2022
You know how some collections of short stories fall flat? You might enjoy one or two of the stories, but you find yourself skipping some of the others? Well, this collection is not like that. Every single story had my attention and had my heart. I read the book cover-to-cover without skipping any of the stories. I laughed. I cried. I felt hopeful. I'm so thankful for authors who write stories for young readers. Hope wins!
208 reviews
January 28, 2023
I try to write reviews as I finish books and I can't believe I didn't write this one sooner. This was a book that I read at the end of the year and let me say: This is the treasured book of personal narratives for a young reader (and dare I say inspiring writer). It shares words of hope and inspiration to young adults to let them know that everything that they experience is "normal." It gives them words of hope and guidance. I really enjoyed reading a narrative a night last year!
Profile Image for Sue.the.very.busy.reader.
943 reviews7 followers
February 8, 2023
My friend @kim.is.reading recommended the book Hope Wins and it is a collection of stories by Middle Grade authors about the challenges they faced in life and how they overcame them. The goal of the book is that by sharing the authors’ stories it will motivate and inspire young readers to find their own voices. Here are some inspiring words I want to remember from the book: “Choose Hope” “Choose to do good” “Hope Wins.”

Profile Image for Ron.
2,235 reviews8 followers
March 20, 2023
This is a collection of stories from Young Adult authors that you might be familiar with. Because they tend to be short (5-10 pages), they are quick to get through. I had the book as an ebook and found myself constantly picking it up when I had a little bit of time to see what the authors had to say. While the title is "inspiring stories for young readers", adults would also benefit from this inspiration.
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