Cry of the Giraffe

One girl’s harrowing trek from exile and slavery to hope in a new land — all based on a true story. In the early 1980s, thousands of Ethiopian Jews fled the civil unrest, famine and religious persecution of their native land in the hopes of being reunited in Jerusalem, their spiritual homeland, with its promises of a better life. Wuditu and her family risk their lives to make this journey, which leads them to a refugee camp in Sudan, where they are separated. Terrified, 15-year-old Wuditu makes her way back to Ethiopia alone. “Don’t give up, Wuditu! Be strong!” The words of her little sister come to Wuditu in a dream and give her the courage to keep going. Wuditu must find someone to give her food and shelter or she will surely die. Finally Wuditu is offered a solution: working as a servant. However, she quickly realizes that she has become a slave. With nowhere else to go, she stays — until the villagers discover that she is a falasha, a hated Jew. Only her dream of one day being reunited with her family gives her strength — until the arrival of a stranger heralds hope and a new life in Israel. With her graceful long neck, Wuditu is affectionately called “the giraffe.” And like the giraffe who has no voice, she must suffer in silence. Based on real events, Wuditu’s story mirrors the experiences of thousands of Ethiopian Jews.

El Tigre y El Rayo: The Jaguar and the Lightning

A folktale about a boasting jaguar who is humbled by lightning.

The Samurai’s Daughter

A Japanese folk tale about the brave daughter of a samurai warrior and her journey to be reunited with her exiled father. When Tokoyo’s father, a samurai nobleman, is sent into exile on a lonely island in a distant sea, his young daughter is determined to join him. Despite her noble birth, Tokoyo has spent much time with the amas, the agile women divers of Japan who harvest shellfish from the sea, and she is strong and brave as any samurai herself. Setting out on her journey to join her father, Tokoyo encounters many terrors and trials, including bandits in the mountains, a ghost ship on the high seas, and finally a monstrous sea serpent. Finally, she reunite with her beloved father.

Rituals of Survival: A Woman’s Portfolio

A collection of five short stories and a novella which offers valuable portraits of New York City women and the rituals of survival that shape their lives.

The Contest between the Sun and the Wind: An Aesop’s Fable

The sun and the wind test their strength by seeing which of them can cause a man to remove his coat, demonstrating the value of using gentle persuasion rather than force as a means of achieving a goal. In this retelling of a classic fable from Aesop, we learn that being the most forceful does not make you the strongest. Sometimes the greatest strength comes from a place of gentleness.

The Dark Light

When it was discovered that thirteen-year-old Tora has leprosy, she is sent from her family’s remote mountain farm to the leprosy hospital in the bustling port of Bergen. In early-nineteenth-century Norway, lepers are quarantined in this hospital and no longer considered among the living. But even as her body gradually fails her, Tora’s new life blossoms. She finds strength through helping her fellow patients, both young and old, and she decides to see for herself what the Bible says about leprosy. To do so, she must make friends with the young and angry Mistress Dybendal, the only person at the hospital who can teach her to read.As she did in The Abduction (an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year), Mette Newth brings another era vividly to life and demonstrates the timeless nature of the search for identity and tolerance.

The Strongest Man in the World

Strongman and circus owner Louis Cyr captured the world’s imagination with his remarkable feats of strength and mammoth proportions. Set in Quebec at the turn of the 20th century, this visual biography features the celebrity in his old age, recalling his glory days for his young daughter. In vivid detail he recounts his adventures traveling through Europe performing feats of strength that astounded audiences and remain unsurpassed today. Nicholas Debon’s vibrant illustrations and moving text bring the world of circuses and celebrities from long ago to life for young readers.

Magical Kids: The Invisible Boy and the Strongest Girl in the World

Josie Jenkins can lift a table, a car, and even a bus with no effort at all. The fame and fortune such incredible powers promise, however, is not what Josie was hoping for from life, and she is happy when the powers suddenly leave her and she can go back to being a carefree schoolgirl.

When his parents disappear on the way back from a Moon vacation, Sam is abducted by evil neighbor Hilda Hardbottom, but manages to hold his own thanks to Splodge, a small alien wayfarer who gives him a shot of invisibility.