Walking Home

Set in both the wilds and slums of Kenya, a powerful story about a brother and sister’s brave journey to find a place to call home. 13-year-old Muchoki and his younger sister, Jata, can barely recognize what’s become of their lives. Only weeks ago they lived in a bustling Kenyan village, going to school, playing soccer with friends, and helping at their parents’ store. But sudden political violence has killed their father and destroyed their home. Now, Muchoki, Jata, and their ailing mother live in a tent in an overcrowded refugee camp. By day, they try to fend off hunger and boredom. By night, their fears about the future are harder to keep at bay. Driven by both hope and desperation, Muchoki and Jata set off on what seems like an impossible journey: to walk hundreds of kilometers to find their last remaining family.

The Mangrove Tree

For a long time, the people of Hargigo, a village in the tiny African country of Eritrea, were living without enough food for themselves and their animals. The families were hungry, and their goats and sheep were hungry too. Then along came a scientist, Dr. Gordon Sato, who helped change their lives for the better. And it all started with some special trees. Dr. Sato’s mangrove tree-planting project transformed an impoverished village into a self-sufficient community. This fascinating story of environmental innovation is a celebration of creativity, hard work, and ability of one man to make a positive difference in the lives of many.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 5, Issue 1

The Amazing Tree

From southwest Tanzania comes this folktale of a time without rain and an amazing tree with ripe fruits that will not fall. The hungry animals decide to ask wise Tortoise how to get these fruits, and little Rabbit offers to find him. They send the big animals instead—-first Elephant and Water Buffalo, then Rhino, Giraffe, and Zebra, and finally Lion and Leopard. Tortoise tells them that they can only get the fruits if they call the tree by its name, but they all forget it. Finally the animals send Rabbit, who learns that it is called “Ntunguru meng’enye.” She returns to the other animals, who are now weak with hunger, and calls the tree by name. “And the fruits started falling like rain!” They thank Rabbit and realize that everyone is important no matter their size.

The Wee Christmas Cabin

All her life Oona dreams of having a cabin of her own. Since she has no family, she moves from cabin to cabin, helping wherever there is trouble or need. But when the Great Famine comes and the last of the potatoes is eaten, Oona knows that no one will want another mouth to feed. On a snowy Christmas Eve, she bids a silent farewell to the village and sets out. Much to her surprise, the magic of a white Christmas awaits her, as do hundreds of fairies who have been keeping watch over Oona since the day she was born.

Skinny

Holly’s older sister, Giselle, is self-destructing. Haunted by her love-deprived relationship with her late father, this once strong role model and medical student is gripped by anorexia. Holly, a track star, struggles to keep her own life in balance while coping with the mental and physical deterioration of her beloved sister. Together, they can feel themselves slipping and are holding on for dear life.  This honest look at the special bond between sisters is told from the perspective of both girls, as they alternate narrating each chapter.  Gritty and often wryly funny, Skinny explores family relationships, love, pain, and the hunger for acceptance that drives all of us.

Jacob’s Rescue

Once Jacob Gutgeld lived with his family in a beautiful house in Warsaw, Poland. He went to school and played hide-and-seek in the woods with his friends. But everything changed the day the Nazi soldiers invaded in 1939. Suddenly it wasn’t safe to be Jewish anymore.One afternoon, eight-year-old Jacob slipped through a hole in the ghetto wall to meet Alex Roslan, a kind Christian man who agreed to be his new “uncle.” The Roslan family, at the risk of their own lives, kept Jacob’s identity as a Jew hidden.Every day of hiding meant a new danger and a threat of discovery. Jacob worried about his real family and longed to go to school and play outside like the Roslan children. Yet the fear, the hardships, and the hunger brought Jacob closer and closer to all the Roslans–until at last the time of hate and war came to an end and a new chapter began in all their lives.