Out of the Box

Life is smoothest for thirteen-year-old Ellie when she keeps her opinions to herself, gets good grades and speaks carefully when her parents ask her to settle their arguments. She feels guilty that she welcomes the chance to spend the summer in another city with her mother’s older sister, Jeanette. Ellie makes a new friend and learns to play an Argentine instrument called the bandoneón, which she finds in her aunt’s basement. When she goes searching for the bandoneón’s original owner, she discovers a story of political intrigue and family secrets that help her start to figure out where her parents end and she begins.

Sylvie and the Songman

Sylvie Bartram lives alone with Mr. Jackson the dog and her eccentric composer father, who invents strange and wonderful musical instruments. One day she returns from school to find a message left in toothpaste on the bathroom mirror: her father has been kidnapped. Later that night, the house is visited by a terrifying apparition—a half-man, half-creature who is searching for something and will not rest until he has found it. Sylvie uncovers an underground world of magic and evil, and with help from her friends, she must hold off a power that threatens the lives of all beings in the world. The Songman is at large, and is determined to steal music and use it for his own evil ends.