Miracle's Boys by Jacqueline Woodson is an excellent resource for a mentor text. It is rich in voice, a lot of dialect, symbolism, metaphors, as well as choices that people make. This book also has many quotable lines that can touch off discussions as well as be a focal point for a story or essay. She also wrote a book in verse named Locomotion. This book explores a similar circumstance with a diffferent outcome. I reminded me of Love That Dog by Cheech.
In previous years my go to text was Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.