The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy

An alcoholic mother, a distracted father, a best friend who spends all his time with his new “girlfriend,” and three relentless schoolyard bullies: Prinny Murphy’s past, present, and future certainly are “tense.” Adding to her misery, she still can’t read well enough to escape from remedial lessons with the dour Mrs. Dooks. But when a kindly substitute teacher introduces her to LaVaughn’s inner-city world in the free verse novel, Make Lemonade, Prinny discovers that life can be full of possibilities – and poetry.  

Amadi’s Snowman

As a young Igbo man, Amadi does not understand why his mother insists he learn to read, since he already knows his numbers and will be a businessman one day, but an older boy teaches him the value of learning about the world through books.

Juana Ines/Juana Ines (Cuando los Grandes Eran Pequenos/ When the Grown-Ups Were Children) (Spanish Edition)

Biographical poem about the childhood of poet and nun, Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz.

I Believe In Unicorns

A tale of the transformative power of stories. Eight-year-old Tomas hates reading. He would much rather be clambering around his beloved mountains. But when his mother forces him to visit the library, he can’t help but listen to the enchanting tales the librarian spins as she sits on a lifelike wooden unicorn. When war comes to their village, it is Tomas’s newfound love of books that helps save the library’s holdings from destruction. Set against a backdrop of encroaching war, the book is an eloquent reminder of the power of storytelling to alter our lives.

The Book of Lies

The newest boy at Mrs. Timmins’s Home for Orphans and Foundlings awakes at first light with no name and no memory. But a strange girl who hides among the shadows of the orphanage tells him that a mysterious wizard’s creation, the Book of Lies, holds the answers, and then gives him one clue: “Your name is Marcel.” With that knowledge, and the help of three new friends, Marcel begins a quest to find the truth about his real identity—a truth that is hidden in the Book of Lies. As Marcel learns more about his past, he realizes that truth can change at any moment and can be manipulated by anyone, and he begins to wonder if the old book’s so-called magical truth might be the greatest lie of all.

Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution

Moying Li is twelve-years-old when Cultural Revolution sweeps China. In 1966 Moying, a student at a prestigious language school in Beijing, seems destined for a promising future. Everything changes when student Red Guards begin to orchestrate brutal assaults, violent public humiliations, and forced confessions. After watching her teachers and headmasters beaten in public, Moying flees school for the safety of home, only to witness her beloved grandmother denounced, her home ransacked, her father’s precious books flung onto the back of a truck, and Baba himself taken away. From labor camp, Baba entrusts a friend to deliver a reading list of banned books to Moying so that she can continue to learn. Now, with so much of her life at risk, she finds sanctuary in the world of imagination and learning.This inspiring memoir follows Moying Li from age twelve to twenty-two, illuminating a complex, dark time in China’s history as it tells the compelling story of one girl’s difficult but determined coming-of-age during the Cultural Revolution.

Tibili: The Little Boy Who Didn’t Want to Go to School

After Tibili, a young African boy, follows Crope the spider’s suggestion as to how he can avoid starting school, he discovers he wants to go after all.