The Sea Tiger

The Sea Tiger is Oscar’s best friend and Oscar’s only friend. They do everything together: explore the ocean, visit the sea circus, even hitch a ride to the surface to look at the stars. But Oscar is shy, and so it’s up to the Sea Tiger to help him find other friends.

Nobody Knows

It’s autumn in Tokyo, and twelve-year-old Akira and his younger siblings, Kyoko, Shige and little Yuki, have just moved into a new apartment with their mother. Akira hopes it’s a new start for all of them, even though the little ones are not allowed to leave the apartment or make any noise, since the landlord doesn’t permit young children in the building. But their mother soon begins to spend more and more time away from the apartment, and then one morning Akira finds an envelope of money and a note. She has gone away with her new boyfriend for a while. Akira bravely shoulders the responsibility for the family. He shops and cooks and pays the bills, while Kyoko does the laundry. The children spend their time watching TV, drawing and playing games, wishing they could go to school and have friends like everyone else. Then one morning their mother breezes in with gifts for everyone, but she is soon gone again. Months pass, until one spring day Akira decides they have been prisoners in the apartment long enough. For a brief time the children bask in their freedom. They shop, explore, plant a little balcony garden, have the playground to themselves. Even when the bank account is empty and the utilities are turned off and the children become increasingly ill-kempt, it seems that they have been hiding for nothing. In the bustling big city, nobody notices them. It’s as if nobody knows. But by August the city is sweltering, and the children are too malnourished and exhausted even to go out. Akira is afraid to contact child welfare, remembering the last time the authorities intervened, and the family was split up. Eventually even he can’t hold it together any more, and then one day tragedy strikes…

From North To South/Del Norte Al Sur

José loves helping Mamá in the garden outside their home in California. But when Mamá is sent back to Mexico for not having citizenship papers, José and his Papá face an uncertain future. What will it be like to visit Mamá in Tijuana? When will she be able to come home? Award-winning children’s book author René Colato Laínez tackles the difficult and timely subject of family separation with exquisite tenderness. Joe Cepeda’s bright and engaging illustrations bring this story of hope to vivid life.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 2

My Freedom Trip: A Child’s Escape from North Korea

The story of a young girl’s escape from North Korea, based on the life of the authors’ mother.

Strange Parents

This compelling novel about immigration for intermediate readers details the difficulties encountered by children separated from their parents

The Braid

Two sisters, Jeannie and Sarah, tell their separate yet tightly interwoven stories in alternating narrative poems. Each sister–Jeannie, who leaves Scotland during the Highland Clearances with her father, mother, and the younger children, and Sarah, who hides so she can stay behind with her grandmother–carries a length of the other’s hair braided with her own. The braid binds them together when they are worlds apart and reminds them of who they used to be before they were evicted from the Western Isles, where their family had lived for many generations.

An author’s note describes the poetic form in detail.

The Scarves

What can you do when the people you love don’t think they love each other anymore? When one little girl learns that her grandparents are separating, it’s hard for her to understand. Grandpa explains that Grandma steals his chocolate pudding, and her favorite color is blue. Grandma says that Grandpa watches too much TV, and his favorite color is red. But when the little girl realizes they really do still love each other, she devises a plan she hopes will bring them back together. Perhaps blending two lives together can be just like knitting two colors together to make a beautiful scarf.

Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood

In this groundbreaking memoir set in Ramallah during the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Ibtisam Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. With candor and courage, she stitches together memories of her childhood: fear and confusion as bombs explode near her home and she is separated from her family; the harshness of life as a Palestinian refugee; her unexpected joy when she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. This is the beginning of her passionate connection to words, and as language becomes her refuge, allowing her to piece together the fragments of her world, it becomes her true home.