Arctic Stories

a storiesAcclaimed Inuit storyteller Michael Kusugak weaves a tapestry of tales about ten-year-old Agatha and her accidental heroism in the high Arctic of 1958. The first of Agatha’s stories is based on one of Kusugak’s real life experiences, when an eerie, black airship flew over Chesterfield Inlet in 1958. A sleepy Agatha “saves” the community from the monstrous flying object. In the second story, Agatha notices the playful antics of the winter ravens and takes an interest in the many migrating birds. As the seasons change, she begins to favor more beautiful and peaceful birds of spring, until the ravens return. The third of Agatha’s stories takes place in the fall when Agatha is sent to school in Chesterfield Inlet, an English-speaking community south of her home. During an afternoon of skating, Agatha rescues a show-off priest, who has inadvertently demonstrated the danger of thin ice. The three Agatha stories resonate with the nostalgia and affection of Kusugak’s childhood memories.

A Parcel Of Patterns (Plus)

parcel“A parcel of patterns brought the plague to Eyam. A parcel sent up from London to George Vicars, a journeyman tailor, who was lodging with Mrs. Cooper in a cottage by the west end of the churchyard.

So begins Mall Percival’s account of how her village of Eyam struggled against the plague. George Vicars dies on September 6, 1665, and by the end of October, twenty-five more townsfolk have been buried. As the deaths continue, the villagers, including Mall, begin to panic–helpless to fight off the disease. Uncertain as to how it is contracted and passed from one person to another, Mall forces herself to make a sacrifice that radically changes her life–she decides to stops seeing Thomas Torre, a man from another village, the man she hopes to marry. In June of 1966, at their minister’s urging, the entire village makes a pact to protect those who live in the surrounding countryside by staying within the boundaries of Eyam.
Although Mall longs to see Thomas, she remains steadfast in her resolution, until one day Thomas runs into the center of Eyam, knowing that he will not be allowed to leave, yet fearing that Mall has died. Mall and Thomas marry, but their happiness is short-lived. Finally, in October of 1666, the pestilence subsides. Mall, overwhelmed by grief and sorrow, decides to write a chronicle of all she has witnessed in Eyam, hoping that it will set her free.

Forging Freedom: A True Story of Heroism during the Holocaust

Jaap Penraat can’t understand the Germans’ hatred of his Jewish neighbors in his hometown of Amsterdam. As the restrictions multiply and the violence escalates, Jaap knows he must take action to help his friends. He begins by using his father’s printing press to forge identification cards and papers for Jewish neighbors and refugees, but as the Nazi grasp tightens, he is forced to take a more drastic path leading twenty Jews on the dangerous first leg of a journey to Paris, the start of the underground pipeline to safety.This initial group of twenty men is only the beginning; the number eventually grows to over four hundred Jews saved from certain death by Jaap Penraat’s heroic efforts, brought to life in this vivid retelling.

At The Firefly Gate

Henry has always felt like an outsider and things are about to get worse when his family moves to the countryside and the prospect of a new school looms. He retreats more and more into his shell, until he meets Dottie, a frail old lady, who has tremendous spirit. He feels as though he knows her, as though they have been friends for many years. And as she tells him about her wartime romance with a Royal Air Force navigator also named Henry, our Henry is drawn into that world. In a series of mysterious, sometimes frightening events he re-enacts Henry’s life . . . and learns that despite being dreadfully afraid, Henry acted heroically at the cost of his own life. Only our Henry knows the true story and it shows him a way through his own self-doubts and misgivings.