Lion, King, and Coin

Laos enjoys his life in ancient Turkey. His father and grandfather are blacksmiths, famous for melting gold into beautiful objects. Laos helps by working in his grandfather’s market stall, bartering their gold for food and livestock. But exchanging such different goods and quantities is complicated. What they need is something to represent the value of their goods, something durable and lightweight. After presenting this idea to the king, he comes to Laos’s family with a very important task: to create something that will make the market accessible to everyone. A story about the invention of currency in ancient Turkey around 600 BCE.

Part of the Middle East and South Asia/Arabic Language and Culture Kit

The Potato King

Once upon a time there was a Prussian King, Frederick, also known as Fritz, who saw potential in the lowly potato — a newly introduced crop from South America — and decided to plant it for his people. However, it quickly became clear that his subjects didn’t like being told what to eat. Determined to see the potato thrive, Fritz cleverly used reverse psychology to pique his people’s curiosity and make the crop popular, and the potato has flourished ever since. Potato-stamp illustrations throughout are simple and effective, exhibiting Niemann’s trademark wit and playfulness. The book includes a short informational note on the historical background to the story. Readers will be interested to discover how one of today’s most common foods likely rose to popularity and may also be inspired by the king’s creative problem solving

The Linching Of Louie Sam

The year is 1884, and 15-year-old George Gillies lives in the Washington Territory, near the border with British Columbia. In this newly settled land, white immigrants have an uneasy relationship with the Native Indians. When George and his siblings discover the murdered body of a local white man, suspicion immediately falls on a young Indian named Louie Sam. George and his best friend, Pete, follow a lynch mob north into Canada, where the terrified boy is seized and hung.

Maurice And His Dictionary

This is the story of one refugee family’s harrowing journey, based on author Cary Fagan’s own family history. The graphic novel follows a young Jewish boy, Maurice, and his family as they flee their home in Belgium during the Second World War. They travel by train to Paris, through Spain to Portugal, and finally across the ocean to Jamaica, where they settle in an internment camp.

All the while, Maurice is intent on continuing his education and growing up to be a lawyer. He overcomes obstacles to find a professor to study with, works toward a high school diploma while in the camp, and is ultimately accepted to university in Canada. His English dictionary becomes a beloved tool and beacon of hope through the danger and turmoil of the family’s migration.

Moments of lightness and humor balance the darkness in this powerful story of one refugee family’s courage and resilience, and of the dictionary that came to represent their freedom.

Letters From Cuba

The situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther’s father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It’s heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they’re reunited. And she does, recording both the good–the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent–and the bad: the fact that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Esther’s evocative letters are full of her appreciation for life and reveal a resourceful, determined girl with a rare ability to bring people together, all the while striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland before it’s too late.

A Cloud Of Outrageous Blue

Edyth grew up in a quiet village with a loving family, before losing everything she holds dear in the blink of an eye. Suddenly sent to live in a priory and work with ancient texts, Edyth must come to terms with her new life and the gifts she discovers in herself. But outside the priory, something much worse is coming. With the reappearance of a boy from her past and the ominous Great Plague creeping closer and closer to the priory, it will be up to Edyth to rise above it all and save herself.

The Lynching Of Louie Sam

Between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,742 lynchings in the United States. In Canada during the same period there was one–the hanging of American Indian Louie Sam. The year is 1884, and 15-year-old George Gillies lives in the Washington Territory, near the border with British Columbia. In this newly settled land, white immigrants have an uneasy relationship with the Native Indians. When George and his siblings discover the murdered body of a local white man, suspicion immediately falls on a young Indian named Louie Sam. George and his best friend, Pete, follow a lynch mob north into Canada, where the terrified boy is seized and hung. But even before the deed is done, George begins to have doubts. Louie Sam was a boy, only 14–could he really be a vicious murderer? Were the mob leaders motivated by justice, or were they hiding their own guilt? As George uncovers the truth–implicating Pete’s father and other prominent locals–tensions in the town rise, and he must face his own part in the tragedy. But standing up for justice has devastating consequences for George and his family. Inspired by the true story of the lynching, recently acknowledged as a historical injustice by Washington State, this powerful novel offers a stark depiction of historical racism and the harshness of settler life. The story will provoke readers to reflect on the dangers of mob mentality and the importance of speaking up for what’s right.

These Are My Words Dear Canada

Acclaimed author Ruby Slipperjack delivers a haunting novel about a 12-year-old girl’s experience at a residential school in 1966. Violet Pesheens is struggling to adjust to her new life at residential school. She misses her Grandma; she has run-ins with Cree girls; at her “white” school, everyone just stares; and everything she brought has been taken from her, including her name-she is now just a number. But worst of all, she has a fear. A fear of forgetting the things she treasures most: her Anishnabe language; the names of those she knew before; and her traditional customs. A fear of forgetting who she was. Her notebook is the one place she can record all of her worries, and heartbreaks, and memories. And maybe, just maybe there will be hope at the end of the tunnel. Drawing from her own experiences at residential school, Ruby Slipperjack creates a brave, yet heartbreaking heroine in Violet, and lets young readers glimpse into an all-too important chapter in our nation’s history.

Gleam And Glow

After his home is destroyed by war, eight-year-old Viktor finds hope in the survival of two very special fish.

Where The World Ends

Every summer Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to hunt birds. But this summer, no one arrives to take them home. Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they’ve been abandoned―cold, starving and clinging to life, in the grip of a murderous ocean. How will they survive such a forsaken place of stone and sea?