There’s only one classmate who makes “Violet’s heart skip,” and that’s brown-skinned Mira. In Violet’s imagination, she “astound[s] Mira with heroic feats” and embarks on adventures with her.
Garlic & the Vampire
Brought to life with a number of other vegetables by kind Witch Agnes, Garlic (a personified garlic head on a human-like body) is most comfortable in the security of her garden plot, growing garlic for the humans in the village.
On the Trapline
“Kiskisiw means ‘he remembers.’” A young Cree boy leaves the city and travels north by plane with his grandfather to see the trapline where Moshom spent the early years of his life.
The Woman All Spies Fear
Elizebeth Smith’s introduction to codes and ciphers came while working for wealthy eccentric George Fabyan on a project involving a Shakespeare folio.
A fawn opens its newborn eyes to its mother. “You are alive! You are a bright star inside our hearts.”
In Guangzhou province, China, 1968, teenage Ming lives with other older orphans and works in the fields like everyone else in his village. Six years before, Ming’s mother, like many in the village, died during the great famine that the government attributes to natural disasters when in fact it was the result of poor policy.
African American Melvin is about to start high school in Spokane, Washington, in the 1950s, following in the footsteps of his high-achieving older brother, Chuck, and older sister, Marian. It would be a daunting prospect even if he didn’t have a stutter.
The Great Stink
“No matter how you describe it—smelly, foul, fetid, rank, putrid, bad, or reeking—in the summer of 1858, London’s River Thames STANK.” So begins a hilariously straightforward account of a grim subject: the pollution of the River Thames—and thus, Londoners’ drinking water—with sewage, and the eventual creation of a hygienic sewer system.
In 1860, sensitive, sheltered Silas, 12 lives with his father, Martin Bird, and Mittenwool, a ghost who’s been Silas’s companion for as long as he can remember.
Named after her mother’s favorite flower, warthog Daisy gets teased about her name at school. “’You don’t look like a daisy,’ said Rose. ‘More like a thistle,’ said Violet.”