When fifteen-year-old Miguel’s time finally comes to leave his poor Mexican village, cross the border without getting caught, and join his parents in California, his younger sister’s determination to join him imperils them both.
Desperate to provide enough food for himself and his daughter, a poor man sets himself up as Doctor All-Knowing and is soon called upon by a rich man to find a thief.
Every Life Makes a Story. Djo has a story: Once he was one of “Titid’s boys,” a vital member of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s election team, fighting to overthrow military dictatorship in Haiti. Now he is barely alive, the victim of a political firebombing. Jeremie has a story: convent-educated Jeremie can climb out of the slums of Port-au-Prince, but she is torn between her mother’s hopes and her own wishes for herself and for Haiti. Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide has a story: a dream of a new Haiti, one in which every person would have a decent life, a house with a roof, clean water to drink, a good plate of rice and beans every day, anda field to work in. At Aristide’s request, Djo tells his story to Jeremie for Titid believes in the power of all of their stories to make change. As Jeremie listens to Djo, and to her own heart, she knows that they will begin a new story, one that is all their own, together.
Pressed into service as a canal woman, 10-year-old Emma finds ways to utilize her artistic gifts. Although it is a better existence than her strenuous job in the English silk mill, she feels guilty over the sister she left behind. Authentic details make this an engaging story–one that reveals the hardships of the mid-1800s when life for the poor in England was unrelentingly cruel. It is also a liberating tale as Emma draws on her inner strength to find her true calling.
A poor boy named Edson, who kicked rocks down roads and dribbled balls made from rags, went on to become the greatest soccer player of all time. While other kids memorized letters, Edson memorized the scores of soccer matches. And when Edson finally played in a youth soccer tournament in Bauru, Brazil, he focused on only one thing from the moment the whistle blew–the goal. The story of the boy who overcame tremendous odds to become the world champion soccer star Pelé.
These vividly told tales of plantation life from decades past center around the lives of Marita Kim and her four younger brothers and sisters. The children experience many hardships growing up poor and motherless in a Korean camp in Hawaii, but their stories are full of adventure. In “Joe and the White Dog,” Joe takes Little Sister exploring and loses her… until a mysterious white-haired woman and her friendly dog appear to help. In “The Little People,” fearless six-year-old Puni searches for menehune to grant her wish for a new doll. The stories also provide a poignant look at the family’s daily struggles. In “Plantation Child” we see, through the eyes of Marita, the sacrifices made to pay for a pair of new shoes, the need for thrift and hard work to make ends meet. In “The Pineapple Cannery” we share in Marita’s excitement as she begins a new life working in Honolulu. The last story, “Abuji,” is a tender portrait of the long-widowed father, reminiscing about his youth and his return journey to Korea. Moving from child to child, from story to story, Eve Begley Kiehm brings to life a formative period in the history of Korean Americans in Hawaii.
Tavo, named for his father Gustavo, plays basketball so much that his sneakers are worn out. His father is too worried about the drought afflicting their small village to focus on replacing them. Gustavo thinks he can solve the water shortage, but the other villagers say he’s crazy. Tavo puts aside basketball to help prove his father right. In return, something miraculous happens to his sneakers, and he’s the hero of the next game. Did the magic come from his shoes, or was it in his heart all along? Brian Meunier’s outstanding storytelling makes this a captivating read-aloud, while Perky Edgerton’s extraordinary paintings make it a visual treat.
Outside her home in Michoacan, Mexico, grows eight-year-old Isabel’s greatest treasure: an oyamel tree. Every autumn, a miracle happens because Isabel’s tree is the wintering place for thousands upon thousands of monarch butterflies that migrate from the north. When they flutter down to roost, they transform Isabel’s tree into La casa de las mariposas–The House of Butterflies. But this wonder is in danger of disappearing forever. Isabel’s family is poor, and it has been a cruel, dry year for Papa’s meager crop of corn and beans. Soon, chopping down the tree to sell its wood may be the family’s only hope for survival. What will happen to the butterflies then?
It is election time in Haiti, and bombs are going off in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. During a visit from her home in rural Haiti, Celiane Espérance and her mother are nearly killed. Looking at her country with new eyes, Celiane gains a fresh resolve to be reunited with her father in Brooklyn, New York. The harsh winter and concrete landscape of her new home are a shock to Celiane, who witnesses her parents’ struggle to earn a living, her brother’s uneasy adjustment to American society, and her own encounters with learning difficulties and school violence.
When the siblings happen upon the gingerbread house of a wicked witch, they unwittingly stumble into one of the most enduring fairy tales of all time. As the witch tries to fatten poor Hansel, and Gretel cunningly outsmarts her.
Lisbeth Zerger, winner of the 1990 Hans Christian Andersen Medal, brings her distinctive talent to the timeless story of two innocent children who lose their way in the dark forest. Ms. Zwerger’s illustrations winningly portray the haunting witch, the daring escape, and the welcome return to their loving father.