In a society where status comes from how far back one can trace the generations of their family, Sai has only a father who’s a thief.
In this kindhearted, stand-alone companion to The Turtle of Oman, eight-year-old Aref moves from Oman to Ann Arbor, Michigan, so his parents can attend graduate school. The start of their three-year stay is buoyed by welcoming new neighbors and a summer art class that helps ease Aref’s transition.
Lou and older sister Casey’s mom is about to marry Steve, an unwelcome change that means they’ll be moving from San Francisco to the suburbs, enrolling in new schools, and living far from friends.
Twelve-year-old Caprice, Black, is back in Newark after attending a summer program at Ainsley International School in upstate New York.
Jennifer Chan (Chinese American) is obsessed with extraterrestrial life, a fascination she shared with her late dad. Biracial (Korean/white) Mallory Moss, always worried about fitting in, may not believe in aliens from other worlds but admires her new neighbor Jennifer’s ability to be herself even as she distances herself from Jennifer once the school year begins.
Sam, white, and Asha, Indian American, both autistic, are best friends until Sam is accepted to Castleton Academy for seventh grade. At Castleton, Sam is bullied until popular girl Prestyn takes a sudden interest in him.
Zhanna Arshanskaya and her sister, Frina, are two talented musicians growing up in Ukraine in the 1930s.
Next to the synagogue, in the building that houses the mikvah (ritual bath), Aviva lives with her mother, Ema, and a dybbuk—visible only to Aviva—who delights in wreaking minor havoc.
The girls in Jillian’s fifth-grade class try hard to look alike. They wear the same bland, neutral colors and ho-hum hairstyles on the same days each week. Jillian, bored by this unofficial uniform, longs to be herself—and speak up more, too—but she’s afraid to stand out.
Eleven-year-old Maizy Chen travels from Los Angeles with her single mom to spend the summer in Last Chance, Minnesota. They are there to help with the family’s Chinese restaurant, the Golden Palace, because her grandfather is ill.