The Queen of Water

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds. In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with María Virginia Farinango to recount one girl’s unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia’s story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.

Grandma’s Gift

The author describes Christmas at his grandmother’s apartment in Spanish Harlem the year she introduced him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Diego Velazquez’s portrait of Juan de Pareja, which has had a profound and lasting effect on him.

We Were Here

After “it” happens, Miguel is sent to juvenile hall for a year. The judge had no idea he was doing Miguel a favor. Ever since “it” happened, his mother can’t even look at him. “Any” home besides his would be a better place to live.

The Meaning Of Consuelo: A Novel

La nina seria, the serious child. That’s how Consuelo’s mother has cast her pensive, book-loving daughter, while Consuelo’s younger sister Mili, is seen as vivacious–a ray of tropical sunshine. Two daughters: one dark, one light; one to offer comfort and consolation, the other to charm and delight. But something is not right in this Puerto Rican family. Set in the 1950s, a time when American influence is diluting Puerto Rico’s rich island culture, Consuelo watches her own family’s downward spiral. It is Consuelo who notices as her beautiful sister Mili’s vivaciousness turns into mysterious bouts of hysteria and her playful invented language shift into an incomprehensible and chilling “language of birds.” Ultimately Consuelo must choose: Will she fulfill the expectations of her family–offering consolation as their tragedy unfolds? Or will she risk becoming la fulana, the outsider, like the harlequin figure of her neighbor, Mario/Maria Sereno, who flaunts his tight red pedal pushers and empty brassiere as he refuses the traditional macho role of his culture. This affecting novel is a lively celebration of Puerto Rico as well as an archetypal story of loss, the loss each of us experiences on our journey from the island of childhood to the uncharted territory of adulthood.

Americas Award For Children’s And Young Adult Literature. Winner

Truth And Salsa

A spirited young girl must travel far from home to finally find herself. MEXICO IS A LONG WAY from Kalamazoo–and not just in terms of miles. Almost-thirteen-year-old Hayley Flynn is spending six months with her eccentric grandmother in the rural mountain town of San Cristobal. Her father recently deserted the family and Hayley’s mom needs time to, as she puts it, “work things through.” Down in Mexico, everyone calls Hayley by her new, more glamorous chosen name, Margarita, and life is surprisingly exciting–exotic birds, beautiful butterflies, holidays, colorful fiestas, and new friends like Lili. Hayley and Lili even win parts as extras in a Hollywood movie being filmed in the town. But there are also difficult lessons to be learned. Poverty and unemployment send Lili’s father and other men from the village to Michigan to work as migrant workers so they can send money back home to their anxious families. Meanwhile Hayley is on the lookout for la fantasma (the ghost) that is said to haunt her grandma’s house. With Lili’s help she solves the mystery–and prepares for a new life with her mom back in the States.

The White Witch

Accused of witchcraft, threatened by the Plague. The Great Plague has come to England, and no one is safe, least of all Gwendoline Riston. With fair skin and hair and a way with plants and animals, the villagers are calling her a witch and blaming her for the disease. A story of survival and self-discovery, this is historical fiction with a bit of suspense and even romance mixed in and is sure to captivate today’s reader.

The Singing Mountain

When sixteen-year-old Carlie learns that her older cousin Mitch is staying in Israel to study at an Orthodox yeshiva, she is upset and angry. Since she was orphaned years ago, Carlie and Mitch have lived together like brother and sister. In Israel Mitch finds fulfillment in studying the Torah, in his work as an artist, and in his new relationship with an Israeli girl.

In California, Carlie, her aunt Vivian and uncle Harry grow increasingly alarmed at Mitch’s defection. They fear he has been brainwashed. Aunt Vivian decides to take Carlie to Israel to lure Mitch back home. Once there, Carlie is awakened by Mitch’s new spirituality. After surviving a traumatic incident she realizes that she has a strength of her own. Finally, Carlie holds the key to the changing paths that each of them will take.

The Man from the Other Side

The true story of a teenager’s experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II, as he discovers his own heritage and finds himself caught up in the war through underground dealings.

Naked Bunyip Dancing

This novel in verse follows the school year of Australian students in classroom 6C, as their unconventional teacher encourages them to discover their own strengths and talents and perform in a memorable concert.