Somebody’s Girl

Martha knows she is adopted, but she’s okay with that, at least until her mother gets pregnant. Suddenly she’s no longer number one. She picks fights with her closest friends and, to make matters worse, she is forced to do a school project about sturgeon with Chance, an oddball boy in her class. When Martha’s birth mother announces that she is getting married and moving away, a lonely and confused Martha realizes that she needs to figure out a way to be a better friend and daughter, and an even better sister.

The Island Horse

It’s the early half of the 19th century in coastal Nova Scotia, and almost-ten-year-old Ellie is adjusting to the recent death of her mother. But just when she finally begins to feel happy again, Ellie and her father move to remote Sable Island, a tiny, windblown crescent of grass and sand in the Atlantic. While her father works, Ellie explores the island, feeling alone and furious with her pa for making them leave their beloved home. Even meeting a spirited island girl named Sarah does little to dispel her anger and grief. Then one afternoon, Ellie encounters a wild stallion grazing on the dunes, and slowly forges a secret connection with the beautiful horse she names Orchid. But Ellie soon learns that Orchid and his family are threatened, and it may be up to her to save them. Based on historical fact, this early chapter book is a touching exploration of loss and loneliness and the redemptive power of love and friendship.

Larf

No one believes Larf exists, and he likes it that way. Larf, you see, is a sasquatch, the only sasquatch in the world (or so it seems). He has a very pleasant, and very private, life in the woods, where on any given day he might be found jogging, gardening or walking Eric, his pet bunny. But everything changes one morning when Larf discovers that another sasquatch is scheduled to make an appearance in the nearby city of Hunderfitz. That must mean he’s not the only sasquatch in the world! Excited by the prospect of having a friend to share hair grooming tips with, Larf disguises himself as a city slicker and heads for Hunderfitz — where he’s in for a couple enormous surprises.

Beatrice’s Dream: A Story of Kibera Slum

Beatrice is a thirteen-year-old orphan in Kibera, Nairobi – a Kenyan shantytown built on refuse and rubbish and one of the biggest slums in Africa. In this book she describes her life: her walk to school, the dust that blows between her teeth and the mud she wades through, her teacher’s down-to-earth encouragement, her fear of being alone, how safe she feels at school…This sensitive account in words and photographs reveals the realities of life for some of the world’s most deprived people – and offers hope as Beatrice follows her dream.

About Kibera slum: Kibera is in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, in east Africa. It is one of the largest slums in the world with over half a million people living there – about a quarter of the population of Nairobi. The slum covers 2.5 square kilometres (630 acres). There are no roads and few of the residents have modern toilets, clean drinking water or electricity. The crime rate is high and disease spreads rapidly in the unsanitary conditions. Many people come to Kibera from rural areas to look for jobs in the city. A large proportion of the children have become orphans because so many adults have died from AIDS – many people in Kibera are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. A number of organizations work in the slum offering medical care, finding jobs and houses, and encouraging people to take part in sports and education. KIKOSHEP (Kibera Community Self-Help Program) provides care and advice for people with HIV/AIDS. They also have a youth center where youngsters like Beatrice can go for health information and advice. The center shows films and arranges sports and social events.

I first met Beatrice at the KIKOHEP primary school. Since then, she has graduated at the top of her class and is eligible to go on to secondary school. In Kibera, this is most children’s dream – they see education as the best way to escape from the slum. But sadly, many girls are sent away by their families into arranged marriages or end up on the street as prostitutes, so they are never able to realize their dream. The Kenyan Government and the United Nations have now started building new homes in Kibera so that they can move thousands of people out of the slum into better living conditions.

The Scar

When his mother dies, a little boy is angry at his loss but does everything he can to hold onto the memory of her scent, her voice, and the special things she did for him, even as he tries to help his father and grandmother cope.

Christophe’s Story

Life has been very lonely for Christopher. The young Rwandan refugee is having trouble getting used to his new school, new language, and new life. Worst of all, he misses his grandfather who had to be left behind. His teacher persuades Christophe to share his story with his classmates — so he tells them of the terrifying day the soldiers came to his house and killed his baby brother. The spoken story fills the air and his classmates are spellbound. But when his teacher asks him to write it down and read it out at an assembly, Christophe is horrified. In his culture, it is believed that once a story is written down, it loses its potency. Will Christophe find a way to break through the barriers and share his story?

Squish Rabbit

Squish is just a little rabbit. But being little can lead to big problems. Sometimes Squish is hard to hear or see. (Which is how he got his name.) And no one notices him. But Squish notices things- especially when someone is about to get into trouble and needs help. Here is little Squish’s BIG chance.