Chained

After 10-year-old Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and hurt with a hook until she learns tricks perfectly. Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can, knowing that the only way they will both survive is if he can find a way for them to escape.

The Gate In The Wall

Pressed into service as a canal woman, 10-year-old Emma finds ways to utilize her artistic gifts. Although it is a better existence than her strenuous job in the English silk mill, she feels guilty over the sister she left behind. Authentic details make this an engaging story–one that reveals the hardships of the mid-1800s when life for the poor in England was unrelentingly cruel. It is also a liberating tale as Emma draws on her inner strength to find her true calling.

Just So Stories

This collection of 12 stories reveals Kipling’s imagined answers to the great mysteries in the animal world. He draws on the beast fables he heard as a child in India, as well as on folk games with language. Originally published in 1902.