Outside In

Lynn’s life is full — choir practice, school, shopping for the perfect jeans, and dealing with her free-spirited mother. Then one day her life is saved by a mysterious girl named Blossom, who introduces Lynn to her own world and family — both more bizarre, yet somehow more sane, than Lynn’s own. Blossom’s family is a small band of outcasts and eccentrics who live secretly in an ingenious bunker beneath a city reservoir.

Always Jack

“Jack’s life is pretty good — he has great friends, everyone loves his funny jokes and he’s an awesome inventor. But things are getting complicated. Nanna’s older and wobblier, and why does his face turn red when he sees his best friend, Anna? And to top it off, Mum and Rob’s wedding seems to be taking over the world. Something really scary has also happened to his mum and it’s going to take all of Jack’s courage to deal with it.”

A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk

In the little village of Duk Padiet in southern Sudan, a boy named Jacob Deng thrives on the love of his mother, the companionship of his sisters, the excitement of learning how to look after his uncle’s herds of cattle. The year is 1987, and suddenly in the night soldiers from the north invade the village, looting, burning, and killing. The war has arrived, and the life of Jacob will never be the same. This novel is based on the real life experiences of a Sudanese boy who, with thousands of other boys from the region, fled for his life and spent seven years walking through deserts, grasslands and forests, crossing crocodile-infested rivers, surviving life in massive refugee camps. The so-called Lost Boys of Sudan – as they were called by an American aid organization – numbered as many as 27,000, and while many died – from starvation, attacks by wild animals, drowning, or through the brutality of the military – many survived. Jacob never returned to his village, but though he was only seven years old when he had to flee, he somehow managed to live through an almost unimaginable ordeal. Throughout the seven years covered in this story, Jacob resists the temptation to join the liberation army. Steadily Jacob finds himself more and more adhering to his mother’s advice that getting an education is crucial to escaping the cycle of violence that afflicts his country. Jacob’s struggle, then, is to persist in seeking out teachers and eventually a school where his ambition to learn about the world can be met. Through it all he learns about loyalty and love for close friends who have been thrust together with him on this extraordinary journey, and also about the guiding light provided by the memory of his mother.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 2

The Little Blue House

In a very small town in rural Argentina there is a magical house. The house is vacant and has been for as long as anyone can remember, but once a year, at midnight, the house turns blue, and 24 hours later it turns back to white again. Twelve-year-old Cintia lives with her father, an angry man who is sometimes violent. But Cintia finds comfort at her grandmother’s home, where there is always delicious food and fascinating tales about the town and about Cintia’s own family. Cintia is drawn to the little blue house even though both her father and grandmother forbid her to go there. And the town’s mayor, who hopes to turn the house into a money-making tourist attraction, tries to prevent anyone from visiting the place without paying. As the time approaches for the annual transformation of the house, more mysteries crop up. Cintia and her grandmother must make peace with Cintia’s father. The mayor’s plans must be confronted, and an old bookseller needs to find a way to save what is most important. And what about the rumors of buried treasure?

Abuela’s Weave

A Guatemalan story about intergenerational trust, love, and independence, this book introduces children to the culture of Guatemala through the story of a little girl selling her grandmother’s beautiful weaving at the public market. Illustrated throughout with paintings of authentic Guatemalan scenery, giving life to the country’s radiant landscape and bustling city streets.