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|Global Reading for Children List from Jean Westmoore
Chinese Cinderella: True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah Age range: young adult Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Publisher's Description: A riveting memoir of a girl's painful coming-of-age in a wealthy Chinese family during the 1940s. A Chinese proverb says, "Falling leaves return to their roots." In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for -- the love and understanding of her family.
Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah Age range: young adult Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Publisher's Description: An Australian-born Palestinian Egyptian Muslim coming-of-age tale about a girl who decides to wear the headscarf. Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full- time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else. Can she handle the taunts of "nappy head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah's debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.
The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer Age range: young adult Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Publisher's Description: This is Zimbabwe, and the year is 2194. This is Africa of the future, and General Matsika's world. The general is a stern man; he has had to be. It has been his iron will and unbreakable resolve that have saved Zimbabwe. Amadeus Matsika is Chief of Security for the Land of Zimbabwe and he carries the weight and responsibility for the safety of 10 million citizens. He has saved his country from the enemies within -- the gangs, hoodlums, and thieves -- and also the enemies at the border, the Gondwannans. He has seen the evils of crime and war, and he's determined to fight the chaos with order. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans... The general has three children, and most of their young lives have been spent in the family compound. They have been safe, and their lives have been very dull. Kuda, the youngest, is the family's little lion-hearted warrior. Rita, the middle child, is strong-willed and impetuous. Tendai, the eldest son, has lived both in his father's shadow and with the fear that he will never meet his father's high expectations. Tendai needs an explorer's badge to become an Eagle Scout, and he can get one by walking across the city -- an act their father would never permit. The children have never been out in the real world, unprotected and alone, before. But they decide they need an adventure, so they trick their way out, and the excitement begins! The children face danger and adventure in the underbelly of the city. They are kidnapped, enslaved, and chased. But at every turn the children overcome obstacles and the evil plans of their tormentors with their wits and great courage, and a boy finds the hero in himself. I've rarely read such an empowering story. A former chemistry teacher and insect pathology technician who grew up in a quirky hotel on the Arizona/Mexican border, Nancy Farmer's futurisic, fantastical adventures -- like the 2002 National Book Award Winner The House of the Scorpion -- are clearly a reflection of a happily unconventional life.
First Light by Rebecca Stead Age range: 9-12 Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Publisher's Description: Peter is thrilled to join his parents on an expedition to Greenland, where his father studies global warming. Peter will get to skip school, drive a dogsled, and–finally–share in his dad’s adventures. But on the ice cap, Peter struggles to understand a series of visions that both frighten and entice him. Thea has never seen the sun. Her extraordinary people, suspected of witchcraft and nearly driven to extinction, have retreated to a secret world they’ve built deep inside the arctic ice. As Thea dreams of a path to Earth’s surface, Peter’s search for answers brings him ever closer to her hidden home.
Ghost Letters by Stephen Alter Age range: 9-12 Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Jean Westmoore: Two boys, one living in Massachusetts and the other in India more than 100 years apart, strike up a friendship through messages in a bottle in this thrilling mystery by an author whose parents and grandparents were American missionaries in India.It's the vivid India setting, and the fascinating connections between a town in India and a 19th century New England tea importer that make the book so interesting. It's also stuffed with other nifty details like a ghostly postman, a genie, a skeletal hand, a disappointed romance and several 100-plus-year-old letters which, if safely delivered, could result in much happier endings for all concerned. Even the bottle is exotic -- blue glass containing "A.K. Jaddoowalla's Finest Indian Gripe Water."
Heaven Shop by Deb Ellis Age range: 12 and up Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Publisher's Description: At her father's funeral, Binti's grandmother utters the words that no one in Malawi wants to hear. Binti's father and her mother before him, dies of AIDS. Binti, her sister, and brother are separated and sent to the home of relatives who can barely tolerate their presence. Ostracized by their extended family, the orphans are treated like the lowest servants. With her brother far away and her sister wallowing in her own sorrow, Binti can hardly contain her rage. She, Binti Phirim, was once a child star of a popular radio program. Now she is scraping to survive. Binti always believed she was special, now she is nothing but a common AIDS orphan. Binti Phiri is not about to give up. Even as she clings to hope that her former life will be restored, she must face a greater challenge. If she and her brother and sister are to reunited, Binti Phiri will have to look outside herself and find a new way to be special. Compelling and uplifting, The Heaven Shop, is a contemporary novel that puts a very real face on the African AIDS pandemic, which to-date has orphaned more than 11 million African children. Inspired by a young radio performer the author met during her research visit to Malawi, Binti Phiri is a compelling character that readers will never forget. Royalties from sales of this book will be donated to Unicef.
Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig Age range: 9-11 Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Publisher's Description: When Samuel and Martha are sent to Norway to live with their Aunt Eda after their parents' deaths, they soon learn her most important rule: NEVER--UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES--GO INTO THE FOREST. She doesn't offer an explanation, but Samuel suspects it might have something to do with a strange guidebook he finds in her attic: The Creatures of Shadow Forest. And when Martha wanders into the trees and is captured by some of the creatures, Samuel has no chioice but to go in after her. What he finds there is an eerie world populated by trolls, truth pixies and other fantastical creatures.
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples Age range: young adult Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Publisher's Description: Life is both sweet and cruel to strong-willed young Shabanu, whose home is the windswept Cholistan Desert of Pakistan. The second daughter in a family with no sons, she’s been allowed freedoms forbidden to most Muslim girls. But when a tragic encounter with a wealthy and powerful landowner ruins the marriage plans of her older sister, Shabanu is called upon to sacrifice everything she’s dreamed of. Should she do what is necessary to uphold her family’s honor—or listen to the stirrings of her own heart? The author won a 1990 Newbery Honor Medal for this novel.
The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer Age range: 9-12 Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Jean Westmoore: The criminal underworld of 18th century London inspired Buckley Archer to write the Gideon Trilogy, and she offers another thrilling time-travel adventure, rich in character and historical detail, in this second installment. In the first book, an accident with an antigravity machine sent 12-year-old Peter Schock and Kate Dyer back to 1763. A bungled rescue attempt left Peter stuck in the 18th century and brought a terrifying villain, the Tar Man, to 21st century London. The author offers rich social commentary and a wealth of colorful detail on the culture shock between centuries, as Kate and Peter's father go back in time and find themselves in the whirlwind of Revolutionary France seeking a nobleman whose knowledge of electricity might help them fix the antigravity machine. Meanwhile, the Tar Man amasses a fortune in modern London as he realizes the full criminal potential of time travel. (His first experience in a modern restaurant is a hoot.) The author is a linguist and her novel is beautifully written, well-researched and thrilling from beginning to end. The friendship between Kate and Peter offers an emotional undergirding to the book. The cliffhanger ending leaves the reader eagerly awaiting the final book. Harry Potter fans, this one's for you!
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata Age range: young adult Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble Publisher's Description: Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to. That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States! As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new "home." Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they'd been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend...if he can ever stop being angry about the fact that the internment camp is on his tribe's land. With searing insight and clarity, Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Kadohata explores an important and painful topic through the eyes of a young girl who yearns to belong. Weedflower is the story of the rewards and challenges of a friendship across the racial divide, as well as the based-on-real-life story of how the meeting of Japanese Americans and Native Americans changed the future of both.