The Cobbler’s Holiday: Or Why Ants Don’t Wear Shoes

Long ago ants only cared about two things—fashion and dancing—and stylish shoes, the link between the two, became their biggest obsession. When the ants’ only cobbler leaves town, the ants find themselves in trouble. How are stylish ants supposed to keep in vogue without new shoes? When one ant finally does the shocking thing: shows up to a dance BAREFOOT, she creates a scandal…and eventually a new fashion trend. A witty tale of change, gracefully matched with chic art depicting high-fashion in ant-sized form.  

Rachel’s Promise (The Rachel Trilogy)

It is late 1903, and Rachel and her family are leaving Russia to escape the murderous riots against Jews. They travel cross country on the Trans-Siberian Railway to the coast and board a ship for Shanghai. China offers refuge, but life for them there is difficult and strange. Rachel is determined to ensure her family’s survival, but does not want to give up her dreams for her future. The opportunity to write for a Jewish newspaper in Shanghai may be the solution she’s been hoping for. The story that began in the novel Rachel’s Secret continues in Rachel’s Promise and Rachel’s Hope.

Join the discussion of Rachel’s Promise as well as other books centered around relocation on our My Take/Your Take page.

Of Metal And Wishes

This love story for the ages, set in a reimagined industrial Asia, is a little dark, a bit breathless, and completely compelling. Sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic, housed in a slaughterhouse staffed by the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor. Wen often hears the whisper of a ghost in the slaughterhouse, a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. And after one of the Noor humiliates Wen, the ghost grants an impulsive wish of hers—brutally. Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including the outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the ghost. As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen is torn between her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. Will she determine whom to trust before the factory explodes, taking her down with it?

The Christmas Eve Ghost

Two children find goodwill and acceptance in unexpected places even in the hardest of times in a moving tale from a master picturebook creator. In 1930s Liverpool, where streetcars clang on iron tracks, young Bronwen and Dylan live with their widowed Mam. Every day, in the wee hours of morning, Mam leaves the two alone as she gathers other people’s laundry to boil in a big metal copper at home. At night, if she’s not too tired, Mam tells fanciful tales of dragons and ghosties, and on Sunday, she cautions the children about the O’Rileys next door, who go to a church that is not for their kind. But on Christmas Eve, when Mam must go out, Bronwen and Dylan hear a ghostly plonk! plonk! plonk! from the washroom that sends them running straight into the arms of Mrs. O’Riley. Not only do they find that the house next door harbors nothing to fear, but it may hold a blessing for Mam, too. With evocative drawings full of compelling detail, Shirley Hughes tells a timeless, genuine tale of community and human kindness.

Funny in Farsi

This new Readers Circle edition includes a reading group guide and a conversation between Firoozeh Dumas and Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner.” In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since. Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot. In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent.