The Shepherd’s Granddaughter

Amani longs to be a shepherd like her beloved grandfather Sido, who has tended his flock for generations, grazing sheep on their family’s homestead near Hebron. Amani loves Sido’s many stories, especially one about a secret meadow called the Firdoos. But as outside forces begin to encroach upon this hotly contested land, Amani struggles to find suitable grazing for her family’s now-starving herd. While her father and brother take a more militant stance against the intruding forces, Amani and her new American friend Jonathan accidentally stumble upon the Firdoos and begin to realize there is more to life than fighting over these disputed regions. Amani learns a difficult lesson about just what it will take to live in harmony with those who threaten her family’s way of life.

Take a closer look at The Shepherd’s Granddaughter as examined in WOW Review.

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion

peacockMuch has been written about war and remembrance, but very little of it has been for young children. As questions come from a young grandchild, his grandpa talks about how, as a very young man, he was as proud as a peacock in uniform, busy as a beaver on his Atlantic crossing, and brave as a lion charging into battle. Soon, the old man’s room is filled with an imaginary menagerie as the child thinks about different aspects of wartime. But as he pins medals on his grandpa’s blazer and receives his own red poppy in return, the mood becomes more somber.

Outside, the crowd gathered for the veterans’ parade grows as quiet as a mouse, while men and women — old and young — march past in the rain. A trumpet plays and Grandpa lays a wreath in memory of his lost friend. Just then, the child imagines an elephant in the mist. “Elephants never forget,” he whispers to his grandpa. “Then let’s be elephants,” says the old man, as he wipes water from his eyes and takes his grandson’s hand.

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion has relevance to a growing number of families, as new waves of soldiers leave home.

The Killer’s Tears

killertearsOn the afternoon when Angel Allegria arrives at the Poloverdos’ farmhouse, he kills the farmer and his wife. But he spares their child, Paolo–a young boy who will claim this as the day on which he was born. Together the killer and the boy begin a new life on this remote and rugged stretch of land in Chile.

Then Luis Secunda, a well-to-do and educated fellow from the city descends upon them. Paolo is caught in the paternal rivalry between the two men. But life resumes its course . . . until circumstances force the three to leave the farm. In doing so, Angel and Luis confront their pasts as well as their inevitable destinies–destinies that profoundly shape Paolo’s own future.

Cooper’s Lesson

CoopersLessonCooper’s Lesson is an inspiring story about identity and intergenerational friendship, featuring a young biracial boy, written in both English and Korean. Cooper has had about enough of being half and half. And he’s really had enough of Mr. Lee, the owner of his neighborhood grocery store, speaking to him in Korean even though Cooper can’t keep up. Frustrated, he often wonders why things have to be so complicated. Why can’t he just be one race or the other? But one moment in Mr. Lee’s store changes everything. Soon Cooper realizes that the things that make up a person are never simple — whether one talks about them in English or Korean. Richly hued oil paintings and tender vivid prose combine to bring the characters to life.

Yoon and the Jade Bracelet

YoonJadeYoon wants a jump rope for her birthday so she can play with the other girls in the school yard. Instead, Yoon’s mother gives her a Korean storybook about a silly girl who is tricked by a tiger. Yoon also receives a jade bracelet that once belonged to her grandmother. The next day at school, a girl offers to teach Yoon how to jump rope, but for a price — she wants to borrow the jade bracelet. When Yoon tries to get her bracelet back, the girl swears it belongs to her. Yoon must use the lessons learned in her storybook and her “Shining Wisdom” to retrieve the precious keepsake.

In this third book featuring Yoon, lush impressionistic dreamscapes evoke a simple and timeless message: it is possible to trick a tiger.

Take a closer look at Yoon and the Jade Bracelet as examined in WOW Review.

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal

glassslipperOnce upon a time, in Mexico . . . in Ireland . . . in Zimbabwe . . . there lived a girl who worked all day in the rice fields . . . then spent the night by the hearth, sleeping among the cinders.

Her name is Ashpet, Sootface, Cendrillon . . . Cinderella. Her story has been passed down the centuries and across continents. In this anthology, Paul Fleischman crafts its many versions into one hymn to the rich variety and the enduring constants of our cultures.

Dragonwings

dragonwingsMoon shadow is eight years old when he sails from China to join his father, Windrider, in America. Windrider lives in San Francisco and makes his living doing laundry. Father and son have never met, but Moon Shadow grows to love and respect his father and to believe in his wonderful dream. And Windrider, with Moon Shadow’s help is willing to endure the mockery of the other Chinese, the poverty, the separation from his wife and country — even the great earthquake — to make his dream come true.

Series: Golden Mountain Chronicles

Awards:
Newbery Honor Book