Samurai Kids #1: White Crane

Even though he has only one leg, Niya Moto is studying to be a samurai, and his five fellow-students are similarly burdened, but sensei Ki-Yaga, an ancient but legendary warrior, teaches them not only physical skills but mental and spiritual ones as well, so that they are well-equipped to face their most formidable opponents at the annual Samurai Games.

See the review at WOW Review Volume 5, Issue 4

Home Is Beyond The Mountains

When the Turkish army invades northwestern Persia in 1918, nine-year-old Samira and her parents, brother, and baby sister are driven from their tiny village. Taking only what they can carry, they flee into the mountains, but the journey is so difficult that only Samira and her older brother survive. Shunted from one refugee camp to another, from Persia to Iraq and back again, Samira finally ends up in an orphanage, where it seems that she will live out her childhood. Then Susan Shedd, the new orphanage director, arrives and, to Samira’s amazement, announces that she will take all the children back to their villages to make new lives for themselves. With wonder and fear, Samira and three hundred other orphans embark on an epic march of three hundred miles through the mountains towards home.

Blood Ninja Iii

The fate of feudal Japan hangs in the balance in this bloody conclusion to the epic trilogy.Taro is at a crossroads: He has vanquished Lord Oda for good, but with no land and no title, he has no hope of marrying Hana, the daughter of a daimyo. So when Taro receives news of a murderous dragon and the large reward for killing it, he and his friends find themselves on a dangerous quest to slay the beast.     Their mission has the potential to save the people of Japan—but failure will result in the deaths of thousands. And dragons are not the only monsters they will encounter: The dead, led by the odious Kenji Kira, have begun to rise, and they have Taro in their sights.     In this heart-stopping conclusion to the Blood Ninja trilogy, the future of all feudal Japan is in danger, and everything Taro holds dear will be threatened. But it is the betrayal of flesh and blood—his own flesh and blood—that may be his ultimate undoing.

Black Flame

A compelling novel set in Tibet, Mongolia, and China, about the adventures of a fiercely powerful yet lovable Tibetan mastiff. Kelsang is just a tiny puppy when his mother dies after a vicious fight with a snow leopard. As he grows he becomes a prize sheepdog, roaming the northern Tibetan grasslands with his master Tenzin. But one day visitors ply Tenzin with drink and convince him to sell his beautiful, purebred dog. In no time Kelsang finds himself chained up in the back of a jeep traveling far from everything he knows. A series of adventures take Kelsang from the streets of Lhasa to brief refuge with an elderly painter and finally to his new master Han Ma, who inspires his love and loyalty. Through it all Kelsang longs for the freedom of the grasslands. Black Flame proudly takes its place among much-loved classic dog stories.

Nobody Knows

It’s autumn in Tokyo, and twelve-year-old Akira and his younger siblings, Kyoko, Shige and little Yuki, have just moved into a new apartment with their mother. Akira hopes it’s a new start for all of them, even though the little ones are not allowed to leave the apartment or make any noise, since the landlord doesn’t permit young children in the building. But their mother soon begins to spend more and more time away from the apartment, and then one morning Akira finds an envelope of money and a note. She has gone away with her new boyfriend for a while. Akira bravely shoulders the responsibility for the family. He shops and cooks and pays the bills, while Kyoko does the laundry. The children spend their time watching TV, drawing and playing games, wishing they could go to school and have friends like everyone else. Then one morning their mother breezes in with gifts for everyone, but she is soon gone again. Months pass, until one spring day Akira decides they have been prisoners in the apartment long enough. For a brief time the children bask in their freedom. They shop, explore, plant a little balcony garden, have the playground to themselves. Even when the bank account is empty and the utilities are turned off and the children become increasingly ill-kempt, it seems that they have been hiding for nothing. In the bustling big city, nobody notices them. It’s as if nobody knows. But by August the city is sweltering, and the children are too malnourished and exhausted even to go out. Akira is afraid to contact child welfare, remembering the last time the authorities intervened, and the family was split up. Eventually even he can’t hold it together any more, and then one day tragedy strikes…