Before You Were Here, Mi Amor

Before you were here, tu papi carved a mecedora from the wood of an old walnut tree so you and I could rock and cuddle together. The members of a familia lovingly prepare for a new bebé. A tenderly written story, with Spanish words woven throughout, tells readers how Mami is eating healthy food, Papi is building a rocking chair, Abuela is painting elefantes and tigres, in the nursery, and brother and sister are helping with baby names. With its vibrant and warm illustrations, this picture book is perfect for expectant parents or children curious about the time before they were here.

Let’s Eat

Little Antonio introduces his extended family and explains that Mama is the biggest because “she is going to have a baby any day now.” Everyday she sends the boy to gather the family for their midday meal. On Monday, Papa can’t leave his busy carpentry shop. On Tuesday, his sister Alicia is learning to dance the sevillanas for the summer fiesta. Day after day, when there is an empty seat at the table that Papa built and Mama has filled with inviting food, she sighs, “Ay, que pena! What a pity.” Eventually, it is Mama herself who is missing because it’s time for her to have baby Rosa.

Behind The Eyes

behindHector Robles has spent his sixteen years in the projects of El Paso trying to stay unnoticed. His peaceful obscurity is shattered when his impulsive brother challenges the leader of a gang called the Discípulos. Suddenly Hector is drawn into their world of violence and hopelessness. When a marker is placed on his life, Hector tries to escape by going away to a school for students with troubled pasts. But it isn’t easy to function when he’s paralyzed by the fear that they’ll find him, even there. Ultimately, by confronting external threats and the internal pain of his memories and mistakes, Hector begins to understand what manhood really means.

My Little Round House

In this delightful picture book, baby Jilu recounts his first year of life in a nomadic Mongolian community. He remembers being cradled by his singing mother, the delicious smells from the cooking pot, his first meeting with his grandparents, and the family’s wandering life with a camel caravan. They celebrate Tsagaan Sar, the new year, and later revel in the warmth and freedom of summer. Richly illustrated by a young Mongolian author/illustrator, this book reveals a world very different, and yet surprisingly similar, to that of young readers and their parents.

The Pharaoh’s Secret (Amelia’s Notebook Series)

Filled with intrigue and surprises, The Pharaoh’s Secret includes Marissa Moss’s original illustrations throughout. The novel skillfully weaves history with a personal story full of heartache and family tensions that will entice and enthrall readers. When Talibah and her younger brother, Adom, accompany their father, an academic, to his homeland of modern Egypt on his research assignment, they become involved in a mystery surrounding an ancient, lost pharaoh—a rare queen ruler. Someone has tried to wipe her from the record, to make it appear as if she never existed! She needs Talibah to help her and her high priest, Senenmut, reclaim their rightful place in history. Exotic locales, mysterious strangers, and a sinister archaeologist round out an adventure that is full of riddles, old tales, and, most surprisingly of all, a link to Talibah’s and Adom’s mother, who died mysteriously.

My Family

In a lively celebration of families in all their diversity and connections, this full-color photo-essay shows loving families across the world having fun together, eating, working, praying, teaching, learning, playing, and more.

Wild Magic

The Pied Piper had his reasons for enchanting the children of Hamelin and stealing them away—ones rooted in a deep history of wild magic. Mari and her brother Jakob are among the children who followed the piper’s song, and they are now trapped in a beautiful but cruel world inhabited by a horrid Beast. They must remain there until he finds the right child, the chosen one, who can lift his century old curse. But the price of breaking the curse is a terrible one. This fast-paced, richly fantastical continuation of a familiar tale is a powerful story of a family torn apart by tragedy, and the magical adventure that heals them.

Thursday’s Child

A stunningly original voice in young adult fiction. Harper Flute believes that her younger brother Tin, with his uncanny ability to dig, was born to burrow. While their family struggles to survive in a desolate landscape during the Great Depression, the silent and elusive little Tin – “born on a Thursday and so fated to his wanderings” – begins to escape underground, tunneling beneath their tiny shanty. As time passes and fate deals the family an especially cruel hand, Harper’s parents withdraw emotionally, and her siblings bravely try to fill the void, while Tin becomes a wild thing, leaving them further and further behind. With exquisite prose, richly drawn characters, and a touch of magical realism, Sonya Hartnett tells a breathtakingly original coming-of-age story through the clear eyes of an observant child. It’s a loving and unsentimental portrait of family loyalty in the face of poverty and heartbreak, entwined with a surreal vision of the enigmatic Tin – disappearing into a mysterious labyrinth that reaches unimaginably far, yet remains hauntingly near.