Chrystal D. Giles
Chrystal D. Giles is a champion for diversity and representation in children’s literature. Chrystal made her debut with Take Back the Block, which received multiple starred reviews, was a Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and an NPR Best Book. Her second novel, Not An Easy Win, was released in 2023 and received multiple starred reviews. Chrystal lives outside Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and son and is currently working on her next middle-grade novel.
Author photo credit to Bryan Bazemore Photography
Not an Easy Win
Lawrence is ready for a win...
Nothing's gone right for Lawrence since he had to move from Charlotte to Larenville, North Carolina, to live with his granny. When Lawrence ends up in one too many fights at his new school, he gets expelled. The fight wasn't his fault, but since his pop's been gone, it feels like no one listens to what Lawrence has to say.
Instead of going to school, Lawrence starts spending his days at the rec center, helping out a neighbor who runs a chess program. Some of the kids in the program will be picked to compete in the Charlotte Classic chess tournament. Could this be Lawrence's chance to go home?
Lawrence doesn't know anything about chess, but something about the center--and the kids there--feels right. Lawrence thought the game was over . . . but does he have more moves left than he thought?
Take Back the Block
Brand-new kicks, ripped denim shorts, royal-blue Supreme tee—Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That—and hanging out with the crew (his best friends since little kid days) and playing video games—is what Wes 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 powerful developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks—the neighborhood Wes has lived in his whole life, everything changes. The grown-ups 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 without a fight. He’s always been good at puzzles and he knows there must 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, social justice, family and friendship with an irresistibly deft and relatable touch, Take Back the Block introduces Wes, a 6th grader readers will fall in love with and asks what it means to belong—to a place and a movement—and to fight for a cause you believe in.