Across the Tumen: A North Korean Kkotjebi Boy’s Quest

As North Korea undergoes a devastating famine, Yeong-dae loses both his parents and is forced to beg on the streets. Soon, this young boy sets off on a desperate journey to China to find his sister—his last living family member. Captured by the authorities, he is sent back to the North, where he is thrown in jail and tortured.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VII, Issue 3

The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fey

Britain, 480 AD. Saxon barbarians are invading, pushing the civilized British out of their own island. Morgan is the daughter of the governor of Cornwall. But when her father is murdered and her mother taken as the Uther Pendragon’s new wife, she has to flee to Ireland to avoid being murdered herself.
But Ireland is no refuge. She’s captured in a slave raid and sold to a village witch. As Morgan comes of age, she discovers her own magical powers. She falls in love with a young Irish chieftain, and makes him powerful. But will her drive for revenge destroy her one chance for love and happiness?

Red Midnight

When guerrilla soldiers strike Santiago’s village, they shoot at everyone in their path. Dos Vías is on fire, and the night glows red. “Take the cayuco and sail to the United States of America. Now go!” Santiago’s uncle Ramos tells him, and Santiago, twelve, and his four-year-old sister, Angelina, flee.

With a map, a machete, and very little food, Santiago and Angelina set sail in their uncle Ramos’s sea kayak, built for just such an escape, but not for a sailor who is only a boy. Santiago heads for the United States on a voyage that will take them through narrow channels guarded by soldiers, shark, infested waters, and days of painful heat and raging storms. Santiago knows that he and Angelina probably will die trying to make the voyage, but they certainly will die at the hands of rebels or government soldiers if they do not try.

The Cuckoo’s Child

Eleven-year-old Mia refuses to believe that her parents are not coming back after they are reported lost at sea. In 1962, Mia’s parents suddenly disappear while sailing off the coast of Greece. Mia and her two sisters are returned to the United States to the custody of her aunt they barely know. Mia wishes for a regular American life and spends a summer in her aunt’s Tennessee home, waiting for news of her parents. By summer’s end, Mia gradually understands why her mother left her and how she disrupted her aunt’s life.

Ahmek

This is the story of Ahmek, a young beaver, going about the business of living in his natural habitat. Through his eyes, we see a man, an artist painting the wilderness. Slowly, cautiously, Ahmek and the man establish a rapport, only to have it shattered when poachers destroy the beaver dam and threaten Ahmek’s life. In a desperate escape, Ahmek sets out alone on his life’s great adventure. He meets a charming cast of characters, his life true love, and he does find happiness. But there is always that feeling that one day he should return. When he does, he becomes part of a significant mystery that to this day has never been solved.

Under the Persimmon Tree

Najmah, a young Afghan girl whose name means “star,” suddenly finds herself alone when her father and older brother are conscripted by the Taliban and her mother and newborn brother are killed in an air raid. An American woman, Elaine, whose Islamic name is Nusrat, is also on her own. She waits out the war in Peshawar, Pakistan, teaching refugee children under the persimmon tree in her garden while her Afghan doctor husband runs a clinic in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. Najmah’s father had always assured her that the stars would take care of her, just as Nusrat’s husband had promised that they would tell Nusrat where he was and that he was safe. As the two look to the skies for answers, their fates entwine. Najmah, seeking refuge and hoping to find her father and brother, begins the perilous journey through the mountains to cross the border into Pakistan. And Nusrat’s persimmon-tree school awaits Najmah’s arrival. Together, they seek their way home.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume IV, Issue 4