Nearly Nonsense

Nasrudin Hoja was a mullah (teacher) in Turkey. He was a busy man – he worked in a vineyard, gave sermons at the mosque, and was sometimes even a judge. He did all of this with a nagging wife, a constant stream of uninvited visitors, and many animals. Although Hoja’s life wasn’t easy, his heart was always light and his observations about life held a witty twist. For instance, when his donkey got lost, his neighbors offered sympathy, but Hoja found the bright side: “Imagine if I were riding the donkey at the time. I’d be lost too!”Though the ten Hoja stories presented by Rina Singh and richly illustrated by Farida Zaman are funny, each one contains such insight into human nature that Sufi teachers use them to illustrate their teachings. Traditional Turkish Hoja stories are much-loved throughout Asia, and Nearly Nonsense brings them to a North American readership sure to enjoy them and, through laughter, to learn from them.

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart

Tom’s six older brothers are adventurers who go on dangerous quests in the Land of Stories. Tom stays home with his mother. Tom’s brothers are famous for the exciting endings they discover for the tales the Story Bureau assigns to them. Tom worries he will never have a story of his own. But when his brothers fail to return from their adventures in time to celebrate Tom’s twelfth birthday, a letter from the Story Bureau arrives . . . addressed to Tom. It is up to him to find out why his brothers haven’t completed their missions. Tom packs his bags and kisses his mother good-bye. It turns out that he has his own story after all.

Jade and Iron: Latin American Tales from Two Cultures

The part one of this anthology contains mythic tales from the native inhabitants explaining how the world came to be. There are warriors and princesses who turn into towering volcanoes, an opossum who steals fire for mankind, and a giant worm who drinks a river so people can find fish. The second part contains stories from the Europeans who came to the New World and is about people’s relationships with each other and with nature. There’s a mysterious woman magician who escapes from jail on a flying boat, horses the color of rainbows, and a jungle creature who enchants a young girl.