Cry of the Giraffe

One girl’s harrowing trek from exile and slavery to hope in a new land — all based on a true story. In the early 1980s, thousands of Ethiopian Jews fled the civil unrest, famine and religious persecution of their native land in the hopes of being reunited in Jerusalem, their spiritual homeland, with its promises of a better life. Wuditu and her family risk their lives to make this journey, which leads them to a refugee camp in Sudan, where they are separated. Terrified, 15-year-old Wuditu makes her way back to Ethiopia alone. “Don’t give up, Wuditu! Be strong!” The words of her little sister come to Wuditu in a dream and give her the courage to keep going. Wuditu must find someone to give her food and shelter or she will surely die. Finally Wuditu is offered a solution: working as a servant. However, she quickly realizes that she has become a slave. With nowhere else to go, she stays — until the villagers discover that she is a falasha, a hated Jew. Only her dream of one day being reunited with her family gives her strength — until the arrival of a stranger heralds hope and a new life in Israel. With her graceful long neck, Wuditu is affectionately called “the giraffe.” And like the giraffe who has no voice, she must suffer in silence. Based on real events, Wuditu’s story mirrors the experiences of thousands of Ethiopian Jews.

The Samurai’s Daughter

A Japanese folk tale about the brave daughter of a samurai warrior and her journey to be reunited with her exiled father. When Tokoyo’s father, a samurai nobleman, is sent into exile on a lonely island in a distant sea, his young daughter is determined to join him. Despite her noble birth, Tokoyo has spent much time with the amas, the agile women divers of Japan who harvest shellfish from the sea, and she is strong and brave as any samurai herself. Setting out on her journey to join her father, Tokoyo encounters many terrors and trials, including bandits in the mountains, a ghost ship on the high seas, and finally a monstrous sea serpent. Finally, she reunite with her beloved father.

Robert San Souci retold a medieval Japanese legend.

Flight to Freedom

In Flight to Freedom, Anna Veciana-Suarez brings us Yara, an eighth-grader who lives in a middle-class neighborhood of 1967 Havana, Cuba. Her parents, who do not share the political beliefs of the Communist party, finally are forces to flee Cuba with their children to Miami, Florida. There, Yara records in her diary the difficulties she encounters in a strange land with foreign customs. She must learn English and go to school with new children. Her parents also adjust to the new country differently, and Yara’s father grows frustrated with her mother when she becomes more independent.