The Barren Grounds

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home — until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Aski, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything — including them.

Small Mercies

Mercy lives in modern-day Pietermaritzburg, South Africa with her eccentric foster aunts―two elderly sisters so poor, they can only afford one lightbulb. A nasty housing developer is eying their house. And that same house suddenly starts falling apart―just as Aunt Flora starts falling apart. She’s forgetting words, names, and even how to behave in public. Mercy tries to keep her head down at school so nobody notices her. But when a classmate frames her for stealing the school’s raffle money, Mercy’s teachers decide to take a closer look at her home life.

The Grave

Thirteen-year-old Tom, an unhappy foster child in Liverpool, falls into a massive open grave and is transported to Ireland in 1847, where he finds himself in the midst of the deadly potato famine.

Mountain Dog

When his mother is sent to jail in Los Angeles, eleven-year-old Tony goes to live with his forest ranger great-uncle in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where Tony experiences unconditional love for the first time through his friendship with a rescue dog.

 

Shadow Girl

This novel for ages nine and up is the story of a resilient young girl who struggles as the daughter of an alcoholic father and an absentee mother. Left alone to fend for herself for days at a time, she is observed by a kind and compassionate saleswoman at the mall she retreats to every day after school to avoid going “home.” The saleswoman gains her trust and takes action into her own hands by reporting the girl’s situation to social services. She is placed in foster care, where she dreams of being reunited with her dad, despite the deprivations in her life with him. The relationship between the girl and her foster mother is painful, and the girl’s spirit disintegrates. Eventually, the saleswoman “adopts” the girl into her caring family, whose love and support enable her, finally, to believe in herself.

Refugee Boy

Fourteen-year-old Alem Kelo adjusts to life as a foster child seeking asylum in London, while his Eritrean mother and Ethiopian father work for peace between their homelands in Africa.