The Girl Who Rode A Shark: And Other Stories Of Daring Women

Now more than ever, the world is recognizing how strong women and girls are. How strong? In the early 1920s, Inuit expeditioner Ada Blackjack survived for two years as a castaway on an uninhabited island in the Arctic Ocean before she was finally rescued. And she’s just one example. The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women is a rousing collection of biographies focused on women and girls who have written, explored, or otherwise plunged headfirst into the pages of history. Undaunted by expectations, they made their mark by persevering in pursuit of their passions. The tales come from a huge variety of times and places, from a Canadian astronaut to an Indian secret agent to a Balkan pirate queen who stood up to Ancient Rome.

The Underhills

With their parents off on an urgent molar pickup, April and Esme are ready for a cozy overnight at Grandma and Grandpa’s teapot house by the airport fence. There will be fairy cakes to mix, pancakes and syrup for breakfast, a chocolate on each of their pillows. But then a call comes in about a small girl in a red coat, arriving from Ghana with a baby tooth somewhere in her pocket. Could this be a job for April and Esme, tooth fairy sisters? As always with Bob Graham, the beauty is in the details: Grandpa working out with a giant teabag-turned-punching-bag; fellow winged creatures hovering above the airport terminal (cupids to help people meet and angels to comfort the sad arrivals). Merging humor, poignancy, and a bit of heart-fluttering suspense, Bob Graham turns a familiar moment of childhood independence into a thing of magic.

The Visitor

Elise was frightened—of spiders, people, even trees. So she never went out, night or day. One day a strange thing flies in through the window and lands at her feet. And then there comes a knock at the door. Elise has a visitor who will change everything. The Visitor is a story about friendship and shyness that plays out in a mini theatre, as a child unwittingly brings light and color—literally—into a lonely person’s life. The unique artwork has a doll’s house appeal. Damm creates a diorama from cardboard and photographs the scenes, giving the illustrations a special luminosity and depth.

Skating Over Thin Ice

Imogen St Pierre is a musical prodigy, a classical pianist touring the international concert halls in a trio with her father and grandfather. Though clearly accomplished, she is also painfully awkward socially, getting lost in the music even after it’s over. Imogen’s in the final year in a private boarding school where she meets a boy of the same age, Nathan McCormick, who turns out to be the “Next Great Hockey Player.” Nathan, however, has recently been penalized for a vicious fight in an international tournament. Imogen and Nathan don’t exactly become an item, but there’s an elusive special quality to their connection. Jean Mills has given us a thoughtful, moving, powerful story about what it’s like to be gifted and exceptional — and still young.