Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Circle of Secrets

by Kimberley Griffiths Little

When her father has to leave the country for his job, eleven-year-old Shelby Jayne is forced to go stay with a mother that walked out on her family a year ago. Her mamma's house is deep in the heart of the Louisiana bayou, and her mamma is a "traiteur" (healer), but some people just call her "swamp witch." Shelby is relieved to meet a new friend named Gwen, but wonders if Gwen is who might be leaving puzzling messages hidden in the blue bottle tree.
Smell the swamp -- and enjoy the ghost story.

An Elephant in the Garden

by Michael Morpurgo

It’s 1944. Elizabeth's father is fighting with the German army on the eastern front. Her mother works at Dresden zoo, where her favourite animal is a young elephant named Marlene. When the zoo director tells her the dangerous animals must be shot to prevent them running amok if the town is bombed, Elizabeth's mother moves Marlene into the back garden to save her… and then the bombs start to fall.
Their home destroyed, Elizabeth and her family must flee the bombed-out city and through the wintery landscape, all the while avoiding the Russian troops who are drawing ever closer. It would be hard enough, without an elephant in tow…


The Hijab Boutique

by Michelle Khan

Farah has a hard time fitting in to the exclusive private girls' school she attends. When she is asked to bring something representing her mother to a talk about "International Women's Day" she has no idea what she could possibly share with her classmates. But Farah ends up bringing her mother's hijab (headscarf) and discovers her mother has plans for making a new start in life by opening up a hijab boutique.


The Mighty Miss Malone

by Christopher Paul Curtis

(author of Bud, Not Buddy and the Watson's Go To Birmingham--1963)

This book is set in Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan, and is about an African-American family that is struggiling greatly during the Depression. Deza Malone's father leaves the family trying to find work, and Deza's mother soon packs up her family to catch up with him. The Malone family motto is "We are a family on a journey to a place called Wonderful."
Deza Malone is a strong character that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

Ivy + Bean: No News is Good News

by Annie Barrows
When Ivy + Bean need money they can't find any chores that seem appealing. Then they hit upon the idea of writing their own newspaper -- and start to snoop around the neighborhood to get some gossip.

Check out activities on the author's web page at

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregine Pact

by A.J. Hartley

Darwen Arkwright has been forced to move from England to Atlanta, Georgia to live with his aunt. When Darwen is killing time at a mall, he spies a strange creature flying through the air. When he finally chases the creature down he ends up at a mysterious shop called "Mr. Octavius Peregrine's Reflectory Emporium: Mirrors Priceless and Perilous." The owner of the shop gives Darwen a tarnished old mirror, and Darwen soon discovers that he can escape completely into a fantasy world just by going through the mirror.


The Flint Heart

by Katherine Paterson & John Paterson

There is a magic charm that can give the bearer great powers, but steals away the wearer's own tenderness and compassion. When a kindly farmer discovers the charm, he turns into a cruel brute. His son is determined to get his father back, so he sets off into an enchanted world where animals talk and fairies hold elaborate banquets.