When You Were Small

When father puts young Henry to bed he always says “Dad, tell me about when I was small.” His father complies, telling Henry how, when he was little, he used to be so tiny that he could take his pet ant out for a walk on a leash! What’s more, he got his hair combed with a toothbrush and was such a little boy that he could even fit in his father’s shirt pocket. Henry was so small that his father’s original name for him, Hieronymous, wouldn’t fit.

The Unknown Spy

Danny Caulfield’s quiet Christmas break from Wilsons Academy, the school for spies, is shattered by gunshots and a heartrending discovery about his parents, and he is called back to Wilsons to prepare to go undercover to protect the Treaty Stone that keeps peace between the Upper and Lower Worlds.

What My Father Gave Me

Passionate, compelling essays reveal how daughters see their fathers. Editor Melanie Little brings together seven outstanding women — including Susan Olding, Jessica Raya and Saleema Nawaz — to write brilliant, powerful accounts of father-daughter relationships during their teen years. These deeply personal narratives draw readers into raw, real-life experiences. One girl recalls the parade of men in her mother’s life until a man named Al unexpectedly becomes the father she never had. Another father’s abandonment leads his teen daughter to enter a string of doomed relationships with older men, fueled by her “pilot light of pure hatred.” Another reveals the harrowing secret she guarded as a teen: the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. One girl watches as the father she loves and respects struggles on the picket lines during a lockout at work and through an ensuing depression. Another daughter charts her own reckless behavior against that of her father’s, in search of a way to break the cycle. Gutsy and honest, these true stories invite readers behind secret doors as they celebrate the power of words to connect to the teen experience.

Word Nerd

Twelve-year-old Ambrose is a glass-half-full kind of guy. A self-described “friendless nerd,” he moves from place to place every couple of years with his overprotective mother, Irene. When some bullies at his new school almost kill him by slipping a peanut into his sandwich — even though they know he has a deathly allergy — Ambrose is philosophical. Irene, however, is not and decides that Ambrose will be home-schooled.Alone in the evenings when Irene goes to work, Ambrose pesters Cosmo, the twenty-five-year-old son of the Greek landlords who live upstairs. Cosmo has just been released from jail for breaking and entering to support a drug habit. Quite by accident, Ambrose discovers that they share a love of Scrabble and coerces Cosmo into taking him to the West Side Scrabble Club, where Cosmo falls for Amanda, the club director. Posing as Ambrose’s Big Brother to impress her, Cosmo is motivated to take Ambrose to the weekly meetings and to give him lessons in self-defense. Cosmo, Amanda, and Ambrose soon form an unlikely alliance and, for the first time in his life, Ambrose blossoms. The characters at the Scrabble Club come to embrace Ambrose for who he is and for their shared love of words. There’s only one problem: Irene has no idea what Ambrose is up to.In this brilliantly observed novel, author Susin Nielsen transports the reader to the world of competitive Scrabble as seen from the honest yet funny viewpoint of a boy who’s searching for acceptance and for a place to call home.