It is 1940 and William, 12, Edmund, 11, and Anna, 9, aren’t terribly upset by the death of the not-so-grandmotherly grandmother who has taken care of them since their parents died. But the children do need a guardian, and in the dark days of World War II London, those are in short supply, especially if they hope to stay together. Could the mass wartime evacuation of children from London to the countryside be the answer?
It’s a preposterous plan, but off they go– keeping their predicament a secret, and hoping to be placed in a temporary home that ends up lasting forever. Moving from one billet to another, the children suffer the cruel trickery of foster brothers, the cold realities of outdoor toilets and the hollowness of empty stomachs. They find comfort in the village lending library, whose kind librarian, Nora Müller, seems an excellent choice of billet, except that her German husband’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and some of the villagers consider her unsuitable.
Pakak is in a new foster home, with new people, new food, and new smells. Feeling alone and uncertain, Pakak finds comfort in a secret shared with him by his anaanattiaq, his grandmother, and in the knowledge that he is loved no matter how far away his family may be. Written as a gift for Inuit children in care by foster parents Kevin and Mary Qamaniq-Mason, this book is lovingly imbued with cultural familiarities that will resonate with children who, like Pakak, are navigating the unknown.
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home — until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Aski, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything — including them.
Mercy lives in modern-day Pietermaritzburg, South Africa with her eccentric foster aunts―two elderly sisters so poor, they can only afford one lightbulb. A nasty housing developer is eying their house. And that same house suddenly starts falling apart―just as Aunt Flora starts falling apart. She’s forgetting words, names, and even how to behave in public. Mercy tries to keep her head down at school so nobody notices her. But when a classmate frames her for stealing the school’s raffle money, Mercy’s teachers decide to take a closer look at her home life.
Small Mercies has been discussed in My Take/Your Take for December 2020.
Eleven-year-old Danny Monteverde believes in magic, he believes that the enchanted land of Rio Luna in his older sister’s favorite book is real, and most of all he believes that if he can find the way to Rio Luna he will find his sister Pili there, because he does not believe that his sister would run away from the group home where they lived and leave him behind; but after years of being passed from one foster family to another his faith begins to fade–until one day he finds a mysterious book in the library that contains a map to Rio Luna…and a way to find Pili.
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, on the Silk Road, which is currently protected by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, from attacks by the violent and ruthless Shayateen djinn–but Fatima was infused with the fire of the Ifrit who died saving her when she was four years old, and when one of the most important Ifrit dies she finds herself drawn into the intrigues of the court, the affairs of the djinn, and the very real dangers of a magical battlefield.
Snub is a young female gorilla, somewhat jealous because her mother is occupied with a new baby, curious of the world around her, a world that is being reshaped by shaking ground and mountains that bleed fire, and most terrifyingly by a new form of predator that walks on two legs; when her mother is killed Snub finds herself in charge of her baby brother–and accompanied by one of the not-gorillas, a very young female who has been orphaned by the violence of her own kind.
In nineteenth-century England, after her father’s disappearance Nan Sparrow, ten, works as a “climbing boy,” aiding chimney sweeps, but when her most treasured possessions end up in a fireplace, she unwittingly creates a golem.
When east London is targeted by a bomber, fifteen-year-old Alena, raised by her half-brother and his boyfriend, becomes increasingly rebellious and insistent on learning about her long-dead activist mother.