A Handful of Seeds

One sad day, Grandmother died. “You cannot stay here,” said the man who owned the land. “I have a family ready to move in.” Young Concepcion has no choice but to move to the [barrio] of the nearby city. There she meets children who, in order to survive, must steal the good they eat. But Concepcion has a plan. With back-breaking work she plants a garden amid the rubble, using her grandmother’s legacy: a handful of chili, corn and bean seeds. But her garden is destroyed. Will she have the strength to begin again? Published in collaboration with UNICEF Canada, A Handful of Seeds offers a message of hope on behalf of the thirty million children worldwide who live on the streets of their cities.

Angel’s Grace

Grace has always had wild red hair like no one else in her family and a birthmark on her shoulder that her mother told her was the mark of an angel. When Grace is sent from New York to spend the summer with her grandmother in Trinidad, she looks through the family album and discovers a blurred photograph of a stranger with a birthmark — her birthmark — and Grace is full of questions. No one is able to identify the man in the photo, and Grace is left with no choice but to find out who he is and what he might mean to her. What Grace does not know is that her search will lead to a discovery about herself and her family that she never could have imagined. Tracey Baptiste’s first novel is a tender coming-of-age story set on the island of Trinidad. Angel’s Grace explores the meaning of identity and truth, and the unbreakable ties of a family bound by love.

(Paula Wiseman Books)

Midnight Blue

Bonnie, a girl torn between the harsh reality of her mother’s weaknesses and her grandmother’s strong will escapes her home one day by sneaking into her neighbor’s hot air balloon. But instead of flying into the clouds and back down, she lands in another world, something like her own, but both kinder and somehow much more terrifying. She’s not sure if she can ever leave this nearly parallel world and return to her own. And if she did, she isn’t sure she’ll be able to bring back with her the sense of warmth and love she has grown to cherish.

What Pet to Get?

Jack’s mother says he can choose a pet but what pet to get? An elephant? (So difficult to take on vacation.) A polar bear? (It wouldn’t like the central heating.) What about a Tyrannosaurus Rex? (Unfortunately, it’s been extinct for 65 million years.) The gatefold on the last page reveals Jack’s final choice, and a big surprise.