An Elephant in the Garden

Lizzie and Karl’s mother is a zoo keeper; the family has become attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene, who will be destroyed as a precautionary measure so she and the other animals don’t run wild should the zoo be hit by bombs. The family persuades the zoo director to let Marlene stay in their garden instead. When the city is bombed, the family flees with thousands of others, but how can they walk the same route when they have an elephant in tow, and keep themselves safe? Along the way, they meet Peter, a Canadian navigator who risks his own capture to save the family. As Michael Morpurgo writes in an author’s note, An Elephant in the Garden is inspired by historical truths, and by his admiration for elephants, “the noblest and wisest and most sensitive of all creatures.” Here is a story that brings together an unlikely group of survivors whose faith in kindness and love proves the best weapon of all.

Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert

In early August 2010, the unthinkable happened when a mine collapsed in CopiapÓ, Chile, and 33 miners were trapped 2,000 feet below the surface. For sixty-nine days they lived on meager resources and increasingly poor air quality. When they were finally rescued, the world watched with rapt attention and rejoiced in the amazing spirit and determination of the miners. What could have been a terrible tragedy became an amazing story of survival.

 

Seven Fathers

In the midst of a fearsome blizzard, a weary traveler seeks refuge from the cold “Good evening, Father, I’m so glad I found you. Would you, by any chance, have a room where I could spend the night?””Oh,” said the old man. “I’m not the father of the house, You’ll have to ask my father. He’s around back, in the kitchen.” And so the travler is sent on a journey within his journey, arriving at a surprising destination.

Small Saul

Ahoy there! Will this sweet little pirate find his place aboard The Rusty Squid or will he be forced to walk the plank? When Small Saul joins the crew of The Rusty Squid, it doesn’t take long for the other pirates to notice something is very different about this tiny fellow. He was born to sing sea shanties, bake pineapple upside down cakes and redecorate, not to hold a sword and plunder. Being rough and tough just isn’t in his nature. Small Saul learned at Pirate College that pirates only care about three things: their ship, being tough and lots and lots of treasure. Can Small Saul show these ruffians that despite his gentle spirit, he’s worth his weight in gold? With treasure chests of laughs, Small Saul’s high-seas adventure is a light-hearted celebration of individuality, perseverance and being true to one’s self.

Built by Angels

As legend tells it, the Old-New Synagogue in Prague was built by angels, and later was home to a golem who remains locked away in the building to this day. In lyrical prose, Mark Podwal shares the story of the world’s oldest active synagogue, which was completed in 1270. Throughout the years, this sacred place of prayer and celebration has endured plagues, wars, and the Nazi regime. Its story is part legend, part history, and one that stands as a testament to the perseverance of the Jewish people.

Mao’s Last Dancer

Chosen from millions of children to serve in Mao’s cultural revolution by studying at the Beijing Dance Academy, Li knew ballet would be his family’s best opportunity to escape the poverty in his rural China home. From one hardship to another, Li persevered, never forgetting the family he left behind.

 

Mechanimals

There was a farmer who had lots of animals that got swept away by a tornado. The twister left behind a mountain of scrap metal and machine parts.  When a tornado leaves a farmer with a heap of scrap metal and no animals, his neighbors are sure it’s all over for him. But the determined farmer refuses to admit defeat. His plans are big, and when his neighbors dismiss them with the words, When pigs fly, they grow bigger still. The farmer sets to work to turn that scrap metal into some surprising creatures.