Mei Ling in China City

Based on a true story of events during World War II in China City, a 12-year-old Chinese American girl named Mei Ling Lee was separated from her best friend Yayeko Akiyama when she and her family were interned in the Manzanar War Relocation Center. By writing letters to each other, both young girls recounted their lives and hardships in China City and Manzanar. This unprecedented children’s book depicts the cross-cultural experiences of Americans of Chinese and Japanese ancestry during the war years.

Brave Deeds: How One Family Saved Many People from the Nazis

When Holland was under Nazi rule, the Dutch lived extremely harsh lives. Thousands were in hiding, especially Jews who had managed to escape transport to the death camps. Frans Braal and his wife Mies took in anyone in need of help — Jews, children whose parents could no longer look after them, resistance fighters, and people who were starving — providing them with a temporary home. Twice their place was searched by the Nazis, and on both occasions they managed to hide everyone in time. Told through the eyes of a child, this is the story of the Braals, two people who willingly put themselves in great danger in order to save the lives of those less fortunate. Throughout, sidebars provide further information about Dutch resistance workers and traitors, Dutch Jews, bombing missions, false identity cards, the war, and more.

Hold My Hand and Run

When the beatings she receives from cruel Aunt Latimer get worse, Kazy decides to run away from home and take her little sister, Beth, with her. Although the country roads of seventeenth-century England are full of obvious and hidden dangers for two young girls, she has no choice–Beth has become a frightened shadow of her lively self. Kazy is determined to save her. The girls travel for a time with seemingly kind tinkers who soon betray them in exchange for reward money. Quick-thinking Kazy has the courage to keep going, but when Beth becomes seriously ill, Kazy faces disaster. She is desperate to do the right thing. But once you’ve run away, it’s impossible to go back…isn’t it?Margaret McAllister has created a thrilling tale that combines the suspense of The Perilous Gard with the kind of historical adventure loved by readers of The Midwife’s Apprentice. Filled with narrow escapes, hardships, and discomforts, this book also celebrates the joy of independence, the unexpected kindness of strangers, and the deep satisfaction that comes from relying on oneself.

The Darkest Evening

Jake’s life is turned upside down when his father gets caught up in the Socialist fervor washing over their Finnish mining community in Minnesota. His father decides to move their family to a new, Finnish state inside the Soviet Union, a change that fills Jake with dread. Where his father dreams of creating a worker’s paradise, Jake and his family find disappointment and hardship. The story culminates with a thrilling escape–on skis–from Russia to Finland.

Stones in Water

The day Roberto and his friend Samuele are rounded up by German soldiers and put on a train marks both a beginning and an end. The boys have now become part of the war, providing forced labor for the Nazis at various work camps deep inside German territory. And it’s the ending to all they’ve known — before their lives as children in Venice, their innocence. For Roberto, the present is unbearable — backbreaking work, near starvation, and protecting Samuele’s secret that, if discovered, would mean death for both boys. Escape is Roberto’s only hope, but the Russian winter is upon the land — and any hope seems remote.

Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story

By the time WWII ended in Europe, the Blumenthal family–Marion, her brother Albert, and their parents–had lived in a succession of refugee, transit, and prison camps for more than six years, not only surviving but staying together. This memoir is written in spare, powerful prose that vividly depicts the endless degradation and humiliation suffered by the Holocaust’s innocent victims, as well as the unending horror of life in the camps.

Beneath My Mother’s Feet

“Our lives will always be in the hands of our mothers, whether we like it or not.” Nazia doesn’t mind when her friends tease and call her a good beti, a dutiful daughter. Growing up in a working-class family in Karachi, Pakistan, Nazia knows that obedience is the least she can give to her mother, who has spent years saving and preparing for her dowry. But every daughter must grow up, and for fourteen-year-old Nazia that day arrives suddenly when her father gets into an accident at work, and her family finds themselves without money for rent or food. Being the beti that she is, Nazia drops out of school to help her mother clean houses, all the while wondering when she managed to lose control of her life that had been full of friends and school. Working as a maid is a shameful obligation that could be detrimental to her future — after all, no one wants a housekeeper for a daughter-in-law. As Nazia finds herself growing up much too quickly, the lessons of hardship that seem unbearable turn out to be a lot more liberating than she ever imagined.