Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Beneath Your Feet

With the intriguing idea of exploring what lies below the surface of the Earth as its broad theme, this fascinating book cleverly dices up the subject into small, more manageable pieces ready to be devoured by young readers, particularly boys. The basics are covered in detail, such as the physical properties of the Earth’s crust (including its unusual features such as volcanoes and caves), as well as animals with underground habitats.

Waiting For The Rain (Laurel Leaf Books)

Tengo is the 10-year-old son of workers on Oom Koos’s large farm in the Transvaal. He longs to go to school like his friend Frikkie, who visits his uncle’s farm on holidays. But Tengo’s family is too poor to pay for the education that comes free to whites. He finally gets his wish at age 14. Tengo goes to live with his cousin in a squalid township outside Johannesburg and studies furiously. After three years, he is almost ready for college, but a year-long school boycott ruins his chances and he is drawn into the fight against apartheid. When he and Frikkie meet in a violent confrontation, Tengo realizes that he will carry on the struggle for freedom as a scholar, not a soldier. The writing here is powerful, evoking in minute detail daily life and the broad landscapes of the country.

Me and You

A small bear goes for a stroll in the park with his parents, leaving their bowls of porridge cooling on the kitchen table. Meanwhile, a girl with golden hair is hopelessly lost in a big, frightening city when she comes across a house with the door left invitingly open. Inside are three bowls of porridge in the kitchen, three chairs in the living room, and three comfortable-looking beds upstairs, and no one seems to be home . . .