The Last Song

Living in Toledo, Spain, and raised a devout Catholic, Isabel cannot know her privileged life is about to unravel. The tolerant society she is used to has been turned upside down by the Spanish Inquisition and the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada. Now even the walls have ears, and no one is immune to rumor, suspicion, a resentful servant, or a neighbor bearing a grudge. Still, Isabel feels safe from the burnings and torture. After all, her father is a respected physician in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.      Then Isabel is betrothed to an abusive man she thoroughly dislikes, and for the first time, her doting parents are united against her. The reason becomes all too clear when they reveal to her their family’s Jewish roots. By marrying their only child into a respected old Catholic family, they hope to protect her and dispel any suspicion that they have not always been devout Christians. Despite their efforts, Isabel’s father is arrested and tortured by the Inquisition, and it’s up to Isabel to concoct a desperate plan to save his life – and her own.

Give Me Shelter

The phrase “asylum seeker” is one heard in the media all the time. It stimulates fierce and controversial debate, in arguments about migration, race, and religion. The movement of people from poor or struggling countries to those where there may be opportunities for a better life is a constant in human history, but it is something with particular relevance in this time of wide-scale political and social upheaval. Featuring stories from youth based in trouble spots around the world — including Kosovo, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Eritrea, Zaire, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Zimbabwe, and Kurdistan — this collection of stories spotlights people who have been forced to leave their homes or families to seek help and shelter elsewhere. This book has no political axe to grind, simply recording the truth of these children’s stories without assigning blame. Some are about young people traveling to other countries; others are concerned with young ones left behind when parents are forced to flee. These are stories about physical and emotional suffering but also about humanity — of both those who endure unimaginable hardship and those who help them.

Cry of the Giraffe

One girl’s harrowing trek from exile and slavery to hope in a new land — all based on a true story.In the early 1980s, thousands of Ethiopian Jews fled the civil unrest, famine and religious persecution of their native land in the hopes of being reunited in Yerusalem, their spiritual homeland, with its promises of a better life. Wuditu and her family risk their lives to make this journey, which leads them to a refugee camp in Sudan, where they are separated. Terrified, 15-year-old Wuditu makes her way back to Ethiopia alone.”Don’t give up, Wuditu! Be strong!” The words of her little sister come to Wuditu in a dream and give her the courage to keep going. Wuditu must find someone to give her food and shelter or she will surely die. Finally Wuditu is offered a solution: working as a servant. However, she quickly realizes that she has become a slave. With nowhere else to go, she stays — until the villagers discover that she is a falasha, a hated Jew. Only her dream of one day being reunited with her family gives her strength — until the arrival of a stranger heralds hope and a new life in Israel.With her graceful long neck, Wuditu is affectionately called “the giraffe.” And like the giraffe who has no voice, she must suffer in silence. Based on real events, Wuditu’s story mirrors the experiences of thousands of Ethiopian Jews.

Out of the Shadows

Deep in the woods, a child with green-tinged skin and long matted hair awakens. She is Isabella Leland, daughter of a healer who was executed as a heretic some 300 years earlier. On her mother’s death, Isabella was taken in by the crow people—faierie folk—who can manipulate space and time. The first time she returned to the real world, Catholics ruled England. Now, those who follow the pope are regarded with suspicion and shunned. When Isabella emerges from her hiding place, she’s discovered by another outcast, Elizabeth Dyer, whose family follows the old ways. Elizabeth wants to befriend Isabella, but she has her own troubles. Her brother has brought home a priest in need of shelter. Hiding him is an act of treason, and his pursuers are closing in. Sarah Singleton has a gift for blending the seen and the unseen, the matter-of-fact and the magical, into a convincing whole. Here she offers a fast-paced plot—a cat-and-mouse game between hunter and hunted—while exploring questions about religious faith and fanaticism that will resonate with YA readers.

Puppet

The year is 1882. A young servant girl named Esther disappears from a small Hungarian village. Several Jewish men from the village of Tisza Eszvar face the ‘blood libel’ — the centuries-old calumny that Jews murder Christian children for their blood. A fourteen-year-old Jewish boy named Morris Scharf becomes the star witness of corrupt authorities who coerce him into testifying against his fellow Jews, including his own father, at the trial.

This fictionalized account of one of the last blood libel trial in Europe is told through the eyes of Julie, a friend of the murdered Esther, and a servant at the jail where Morris is imprisoned. Julie is no stranger to suffering herself: abused by her alcoholic father and separated from her beloved baby sister, she is as bound up in the tragedy of the times as is Morris.

Puppet is based upon a real court case that took place in Hungary in 1883. In Hungary today, the name Morris Scharf has become synonymous with “traitor.”

Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

Nine-year-old Ling is comfortable; her parents are both dedicated surgeons in the best hospital in Wuhan. But when Comrade Li, one of Mao’s political officers, moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbors and, soon, for herself and family. Over the course of four years, Ling manages to grow and blossom, even as she suffers more horrors than many people face in a lifetime. Drawing from her childhood experience, Ying Chang Compestine brings hope and humor to this compelling story for all ages about a girl fighting to survive during the Cultural Revolution in China.