Let’s Go See Papa!

The little girl in this story likes Sundays best of all — it’s the day her father calls. She hasn’t seen him for over a year because he works far away across the ocean in the United States. She writes in her notebook every day, keeping a record of everything that happens to share with him when she finally sees him again. And she thinks about the fun they used to have when he was home — taking their dog Kika to the park and buying freshly baked bread together. Then one Sunday her father asks if she and her mother would like to join him, and she’s surprised by her mixed feelings. It means leaving her grandmother, her friends . . . and Kika behind.

This is a powerful story from a young child’s perspective about what it’s like to have an absent parent and to have to leave your home, country and those you love for a new life.

Friends with Boys

A coming-of-age tale with a spooky twist! Maggie McKay hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it’s time for Maggie to face the outside world, all on her own. But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life. Maybe it even means making a new friend—one who isn’t one of her brothers. Funny, surprising, and tender, Friends with Boys is a pitch perfect YA graphic novel full of spooky supernatural fun.

A Proper Place

The fourth in the very successful series about Kevin (a Catholic) and Sadie (a Protestant) who meet (The Twelfth Day of July), grow up and fall in love (Across the Barricades) and leave Belfast to marry and find some peace (Into Exile). A Proper Place finds them still in Liverpool, with a two-room flat and baby Brendan, and coping with Kevin’s sullen seventeen-year-old brother, Gerald;’ but a job and a tied cottage on a Cheshire farm offer a new direction

Lost Boy, Lost Girl

One of thousands of children who fled strife in southern Sudan, John Bul Dau survived hunger, exhaustion, and violence. His wife, Martha, endured similar hardships. In this memorable book, the two convey the best of African values while relating searing accounts of famine and war. There’s warmth as well, in their humorous tales of adapting to American life. For its importance as a primary source, for its inclusion of the rarely told female perspective of Sudan’s lost children, for its celebration of human resilience, this is the perfect story to inform and inspire young readers.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 5, Issue 2

The Lady with the Hat

Yulek, a seventeen-year-old Holocaust survivor, finds himself tragically alone at war’s end. Hoping to begin again, he makes his way to Palestine, where he meets a sad and beautiful Jewish girl named Theresa. Saved from the Nazis by Catholic nuns, Theresa, like Yulek, is uncertain about her place in the postwar world. Together they struggle to rediscover the joy of living. Meanwhile, a mysterious English woman sets out on her own search for the long-lost nephew that she has spotted in a newspaper photo of Jewish refugees. Perhaps by finding him, she will also find some long-hidden part of herself.

The Arrival

A man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He’s embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life – he’s leaving home to build a better future for his family. Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant’s experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can’t communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character’s isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy.

This book is a wordless picturebook.

Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest

Samuel and Martha have just moved to Norway to live with their aunt Eda, and she’s taking some getting used to. She has too many rules, no TV, and insists that they eat local delicacies like brown cheese and reindeer soup. And then there’s the most peculiar thing about her—her irrational fear of her own backyard. Sure, Uncle Henrik hasn’t been heard from since he disappeared into it ten years ago, but that can’t be the forest’s fault.

Samuel is skeptical, until he disobeys Rule #1—Never go up to the attic—and finds an unusual book: The Creatures of Shadow Forest, which gives scary descriptions of the fantastic creatures supposedly living in the forest. So when Sam starts seeing strange things venture past the treeline after dark, he can’t help wondering: Could Aunt Eda be right? What really happened to Uncle Henrik?