Run for Your Life

A talented young runner, Santino lives in Palermo, Sicily—a beautiful region of Italy that’s dominated by the Mafia. With Santino’s first communion approaching, his father and grandfather carry out a theft to pay for the party—but they steal from the wrong people. A young, cocky Mafioso summons them to a meeting, and they bring the boy. As Santino wanders off into the old abandoned neighborhood, he hears shots and runs back to see two armed men and his father and grandfather slumped over in the car. The boy barely escapes with his life. Now, he’s left with a choice: cooperate with police and be a “rat,” or maintain Omertà: the code of silence. Twelve-year-old Lucio lives in the northern Italian city of Livorno and dreams of sailing when not taking care of his his young sister, Ilaria, and his sick mother, who is convinced that a witch has cursed her. One day, Lucio’s mother goes missing and he receives a mysterious text: “Come to Palermo. Mamma is dying.” Panicked, Lucio grabs Ilaria and rushes to Sicily, where Lucio’s and Santino’s stories converge with explosive results.

Forgiving Moses

The tenth installment in Velásquez s acclaimed Roosevelt High School Series that focuses on social issues relevant to teens, Forgiving Moses addresses the painful issue of children, particularly brown and black youth, whose fathers are not present in their lives. Touching on the disproportionately high number of men of color in prison and its effects on society, this short novel for teens will generate conversations about the possible consequences of making bad choices, responsibility to family and the impact of incarceration.

The Wooden Camel

Etabo dreams of being a camel racer. One day he might even beat his older brother when they race. But with the price of water rising, Etabo’s father must sell the camels, and his siblings must find work. What will Etabo do now? From acclaimed Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu and Italian illustrator Manuela Adreani, this story of love and hope centers on the inspiring Turkana people of northwest Kenya. Told with gentleness and humor, it is a universal story about keeping one’s dreams alive.

The Better Tree Fort

Let’s build a tree fort,” Russell says to his dad when they move into a house with a big maple tree in the backyard. His dad doesn’t know much about building, but he gamely follows Russell’s plan. Several trips to the lumber store later, the tree fort is done. There is no slide, balcony or skylight like Russell imagined, but it is perfect ― right up until he notices another tree fort going up three houses over.