Q and A + Cover Reveal: Road Home by Rex Ogle

In this captivating Q and A, author Rex Ogle discusses his approach to tackling serious subjects in his books and the importance of balancing truth with levity and hope. He emphasizes the need for frank discussions about mature topics with young readers, as well as the power of storytelling to open up conversations about life’s heavier aspects. Ogle also delves into the significance of representing people as complex individuals capable of both good and bad, drawing from his own experiences and his belief in empathy and kindness. Lastly, he offers resources and words of encouragement to those who may be questioning their sexuality, facing homelessness, or feeling alone, while highlighting the abundance of support available and the impactful role that compassion plays.

Q and A + Cover Reveal: Road Home by Rex Ogle

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Tackling Serious Topics for Young People

Approaching Non-Fiction with Honesty

When it comes to writing non-fiction for young people, it is crucial to approach the topics with honesty. As an author, you should never shy away from the hard parts of life. It is important to recognize that today’s youth are exposed to explicit information on the internet. Rather than avoid these topics, it is better to offer them to young readers and start open and frank discussions. By doing so, stories become conversation starters and open up lines of communication about the heavier things in life.

Not Shying Away from the Hard Parts

As mentioned before, it is essential not to shy away from the hard parts when writing non-fiction. Parents may want to protect their children from mature content, but it is essential to understand that young readers are already exposed to explicit material in various forms online. By providing them with honest and heartfelt stories, we give them the opportunity to learn and grow. It is important to trust today’s youth and give them the chance to engage in meaningful conversations about serious topics.

Balancing Truth with Levity and Hope

Painting a Full Picture

When telling stories, it is necessary to paint a full picture of life. It means showing life’s complexity and well-roundedness, both the good and the bad. By providing a complete 360-degree view of life, readers can understand and appreciate the depth of human experience. It is important not to sanitize or sugarcoat real-life struggles. Instead, we must offer an authentic portrayal of the human condition.

Finding Light in the Darkness

Finding a balance between truth and levity can be challenging. Life is not always easy, and it is natural to struggle with finding hope in dark times. However, it is crucial to remind ourselves that life is an ever-changing landscape. There are good days, and there are bad days. By focusing on the positive aspects of life and appreciating the small joys, we can find light even in the darkest moments. It is essential to convey this message to young readers and show them that there is always hope to be found.

Q and A + Cover Reveal: Road Home by Rex Ogle

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Importance of Learning about the Experience of an Unhoused Teen

Offering a Fresh Perspective

Learning about the experience of an unhoused teen is crucial for young adult readers. True stories provide a fresh perspective from someone else’s life, allowing readers to cultivate compassion and understanding. By reading about characters who face homelessness, young readers can gain insight into a reality that may be completely different from their own. It broadens their worldview and teaches them empathy towards those who are less fortunate.

Cultivating Compassion and Understanding

We live in uncertain times, and homelessness is on the rise globally. Many individuals are forced to live in overcrowded homes, sleep outdoors or in cars, stay in shelters, or live in substandard conditions. It is crucial for young readers to know that this reality exists for some of their peers. By learning about the experiences of unhoused teens, young adults can cultivate compassion and develop a better understanding of the challenges faced by others. This understanding can motivate them to take action and make a difference in their communities.

Representing People as They Are

Duality in Human Nature

It is important to represent people as they are, with their complexities and contradictions. No one is all good or all bad, and understanding this duality is crucial in portraying authentic characters. By acknowledging the duality in human nature, we help readers understand that individuals who hurt others are often hurting themselves first. It is important to be empathetic and offer kindness and understanding to those around us, even when their actions may not seem worthy of it.

Showing Empathy and Kindness

As an author, it is essential to portray characters who exhibit empathy and kindness. By doing so, we teach young readers the value of treating others with compassion and understanding. Small acts of kindness can have a significant impact on someone’s life. By showing characters who embody these traits, we can inspire young readers to do the same in their own lives.

Q and A + Cover Reveal: Road Home by Rex Ogle

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Staying Inspired as a Writer

Overflow of Creative Ideas

Staying inspired as a writer can be challenging, but it all begins with having an overflow of creative ideas. It is essential to nurture and cultivate these ideas and pursue writing with all your heart. While it may not always come naturally, hard work and dedication can lead to fruitful outcomes. As an author, it is important to explore different formats, genres, and subjects. The world is filled with endless possibilities for stories, and writers have the power to capture and share them.

Reading for Inspiration

Reading is an essential part of staying inspired as a writer. By immersing yourself in different literary works, you expose yourself to various styles, voices, and experiences. Each book offers a unique perspective and can ignite new ideas and creative sparks. As a writer, it is important to read as much as you can, as it will fuel your own writing and keep your creativity flowing.

Advice for Kids Facing Challenges

You Are Not Alone

To kids who are questioning their sexuality, facing homelessness, or feeling alone, it is essential to remind them that they are not alone in their struggles. Many others have walked a similar path and understand what they are going through. It may be scary, but reaching out and finding a community of like-minded individuals can provide strength and support. Sharing your story and listening to others’ stories can be empowering and help navigate challenging situations.

Finding Support Communities

For those questioning their sexuality, there are many LGBTQIA+ groups and organizations that are ready to offer assistance and support. Organizations such as GLAAD, HRC, and The Trevor Project provide resources and guidance for young individuals who are exploring their identity. Additionally, for those facing homelessness or home instability, there are numerous state and national organizations that can help connect individuals with the services they need. Dialing 211 is an excellent starting point to access local resources.

Q and A + Cover Reveal: Road Home by Rex Ogle

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Resources for LGBTQIA+ and Unhoused Youth

GLAAD, HRC, and The Trevor Project

For LGBTQIA+ youth, organizations such as GLAAD, HRC, and The Trevor Project offer valuable resources and support. These organizations provide a safe space for individuals to explore their identity, access counseling services, and find community support. They are dedicated to promoting equality and supporting LGBTQIA+ youth throughout their journey of self-discovery.

State and National Organizations for Homelessness

For unhoused youth, it is important to know that there are state and national organizations available to provide support and assistance. Dialing 211 is an excellent starting point, as they can connect individuals with local resources. These resources may include shelters, food assistance, and other services to help those experiencing homelessness. It is crucial for unhoused youth to know that there are people and organizations ready to help them navigate their circumstances and find stability.

How Others Can Help

Volunteering and Donating to Shelters

One way to help those experiencing homelessness is to volunteer your time or donate to local shelters. Shelters often rely on volunteers to provide support, whether it is serving meals, organizing donations, or assisting with daily operations. Additionally, shelters greatly appreciate donations of food, clothes, and home goods. These items can directly support those in need and make a meaningful difference in their lives.

Not Ignoring Those in Need

Perhaps the most important way to help is to not ignore those in need. It is crucial to acknowledge the presence of people experiencing homelessness and treat them with compassion and respect. A simple smile or a kind gesture can go a long way in making someone feel seen and valued. By recognizing their humanity, we can promote a more compassionate and kind society.

Q and A + Cover Reveal: Road Home by Rex Ogle

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Promoting Compassion and Kindness

A Smile Goes a Long Way

Promoting compassion and kindness begins with small actions, such as a smile. A smile can brighten someone’s day and show them that they are not alone. It is a simple yet powerful gesture that can create a ripple effect of positivity. By spreading kindness and extending empathy to others, we contribute to a more compassionate and understanding world.

About the Author

Rex Ogle’s Background and Works

Rex Ogle is an author known internationally for his impactful and thought-provoking works. His books include titles such as “Free Lunch,” which won the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award, “Abuela, Don’t Forget Me,” a finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award, and “Punching Bag,” a NYPL Best Book of the Year. Rex’s writing captures the complexity of the human experience and offers readers a fresh perspective on important social issues. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he continues to write and inspire others through his powerful storytelling.