In Other Lands
Grades 7 & Up
Sophie's mother runs a sanctuary for bonobo chimpanzees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Africa. While visiting from America for a few weeks, Sophie rescues a bonobo from a man in the markets of Kinshasa. Otto, the badly abused bonobo, quickly bonds with Sophie, but she knows she must leave him soon to return to her father in the United States.
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
Truth can be much stranger than fiction and fiction based on truth can make a great story. Inspired by the life of Ivan Mishukov, Ivan Andreovich is a five-year-old boy who was orphaned in post-Soviet Russia, left on the streets to fend for himself, and adopted by a pack of wild dogs.
Reading Level: Grades k - 4
Kanchil the mouse deer knows he is the fastest animal in the jungle so when he challenges everyone to a race he is stunned to have his challenge taken up by Pelan the snail and even more shocked when he loses. How could that be?
Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8
After Tomas' house burns down, his family moves back to Slovakia where they had lived until Tomas was five and where he had nearly died. Soon after his arrival in his mother's home town he begins to have strange encounters with Slovakian legendary characters. Everyone, from Death herself to a crazy water vampire, known as a vodnik, seems to remember him and want something from him.
A boy, looking to go to the other side, hops into a bear's boat for what he is assured will not be too long of a journey. Hours later, the bear continues to assure the boy that They. Are. Not. Lost. Sometimes unforseen anomalies arise, you know.
Days later the two have run out of sandwiches.
A simple, quiet adventure story perfectly tailored for a bedtime read-aloud, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat recalls cozy, character-rich classics with plenty to think about, yet is one of a kind and quite quirky.
Reading Level: Grades 3-5
If you found a hole out in the grass while exploring, and inside the hole was a meteoroid, and poking out of the meteoroid was a button, you'd probably push it, wouldn't you? (I would. Zita did.)
You'd probably freak out when your best friend Joseph got sucked into into this weird vortex thing after you pushed the botton... and then when you pushed the button again, YOU got sucked in, plopping out onto an alien planet. (I would. Zita kind of did.)
Reading Level: Grades 7+
25 year-old Innocent is the big brother but 15-year-old Deo has always been expected to take care of him because Innocent is "different".
When the president's soldiers come to their Zimbabwe village bent on finding all who voted for the opposition, Innocent talks back to the soldiers and is dragged away. While the soldiers are distracted, Deo slips away and finds his brother staked out to die. As Deo cuts his badly beaten brother loose, shots ring out. Everyone in the village is killed except Deo and Innocent.
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 5
When an evil Mongol invader demands tribute from everyone in a small Turkish town one family can only offer an old donkey. Nasreddin Hoca saves the day by promising to teach the donkey to read in one month. How is that possible?
Have you ever read a book that made you cry? Ever read a book that, once you were finished, you just sat with and held for a while, letting the words sink into you, not wanting to have finished it? Ever read a book that you couldn't stop thinking about after you finished? Ever read a book that was so true and real you experienced the whole thing in your mind as you read? This is one of those books.
In August of 2010, a Chilean mine collapsed suddenly, trapping thirty-three men in the dark mine over a mile beneath the earth with limited supplies. After the collapse, the men were able to get to a shelter point, but had no way to communicate with the ground above. All routes to the surface were blocked by the accident.