Historical Novels for Children: Our Modern World

These novels explore events from a more modern time, from approximately 1975 to today. They are important for understanding events outside of the borders of America, as well as the perspectives of people who live far different lives from our own, even if they're in our own communities.

These novels explore events from a more modern time, from approximately 1975 to today. They are important for understanding events outside of the borders of America, as well as the perspectives of people who live far different lives from our own, even if they're in our own communities.

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A Good Courage

Author: Tolan, Stephanie S.

Subjects: Abuse; Cults; Family; Social Relationships

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092-781-9

Order code: 7819

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 7819S

A Good Courage Cover

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Fourteen-year-old Ty Rainey’s mother has found heaven on earth at a reclusive commune called "the Kingdom." But Ty soon discovers that the children, separated from their parents, are treated essentially as slaves, and the punishment for defying the rules is harsh. Ty knows that he must find the courage to rebel, but how can he when the price for doing so may be his freedom, his sanity, or even his life?

Ty becomes a popular storyteller with the children, and although education is strictly forbidden, he secretly teaches one of the younger boys to read. He has one ally in Samarah, who, at great cost to herself, pledges to help him. Their "keepers" are truly terrifying, and the punishments are cruel, but Ty's mother is too caught up in the culture of the place to believe his claims of abuse. If he's going to escape, he realizes, he'll have to do it without her.

This reissued novel is gripping, complex, and enthralling.

Reviews:

A spellbinding, action-packed cautionary tale.” – Kirkus Reviews

This well-told survival story is frightening in its examination of cults and communes. An entirely realistic plot peopled by distinctive, believable characters that will be long remembered.– School Library Journal

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Fourteen-year-old Ty Rainey’s mother has found heaven on earth at a reclusive commune called "the Kingdom." But Ty soon discovers that the children, separated from their parents, are treated essentially as slaves, and the punishment for defying the rules is harsh. Ty knows that he must find the courage to rebel, but how can he when the price for doing so may be his freedom, his sanity, or even his life?

Ty becomes a popular storyteller with the children, and although education is strictly forbidden, he secretly teaches one of the younger boys to read. He has one ally in Samarah, who, at great cost to herself, pledges to help him. Their "keepers" are truly terrifying, and the punishments are cruel, but Ty's mother is too caught up in the culture of the place to believe his claims of abuse. If he's going to escape, he realizes, he'll have to do it without her.

This reissued novel is gripping, complex, and enthralling.

Reviews:

A spellbinding, action-packed cautionary tale.” – Kirkus Reviews

This well-told survival story is frightening in its examination of cults and communes. An entirely realistic plot peopled by distinctive, believable characters that will be long remembered.– School Library Journal

A Good Courage Cover

A Good Courage sample pages:

Secret of the Seventh Gate

Author: Spire, Hazel

Subjects: History; Expatriots; Iranian Revolution; Cross-Cultural Understanding

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Order code: 5418

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5418S

Secret of the Seventh Gate Cover

'Fast paced...high adventure...keeps readers' attention to the very last word. A remarkable adventure book...we highly recommend it.' – The Children's Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

Originally from Texas, Jandy Graham is in eighth grade in Iran in 1979, where she has lived for three years while her father works on a dam. Her best friend is Maryam, an Iranian classmate. Their happy excitement about the school play turns to fear when Maryam’s practice tape of her dance music turns out to be an Ayatollah Khomeini speech against the Shah of Iran. Suddenly the girls are swept up into the changing atmosphere of Iran: Maryam’s mother begins wearing traditional women’s clothing, anti-West protests mount, people begin carrying posters of Khomeini in parades, American expatriots become targets and are warned to “go home,” the Shah’s statue is pulled down, and finally the Shah is deposed by militants.

Mr. Graham is ordered to pack his family for home, but his passport is missing, and a note on his desk warns that he is to be tried as a spy. The search for the missing passport causes the family to miss the last bus to the airport in Abadan. A true friend, Maryam’s father attempts to drive the Grahams to the airport as bullets whiz around them. His tire is shot out, and Maryam’s uncle Gholam offers to help. He drives fast and furiously, all the while cursing foreigners and the Shah and giving the Grahams some insight into a militant’s viewpoint of the Shah’s regime, including torture and the SAVAC, the Shah’s secret police.

Finally at the airport, the Grahams must pay an exorbitant airport tax to be allowed to race to their plane. A suitcase is dropped and instantly is grabbed by a mob of demonstrators. After pushing and pulling to get on board, Jandy has a chance to open the book Maryam gave her that is marked with a Persian proverb: “The best thing you can bring back from your travels is yourself unharmed.” The family will be back safely in Texas in time for Christmas with Grandma.

Intrigue is woven throughout the story, as is the theme of two families finding friendship and a cross-cultural understanding.

Author Hazel Spire met her Texan husband in Iran. She has won literary awards on both sides of the Atlantic. She lives in Dallas, Texas. 

'Fast paced...high adventure...keeps readers' attention to the very last word. A remarkable adventure book...we highly recommend it.' – The Children's Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

Originally from Texas, Jandy Graham is in eighth grade in Iran in 1979, where she has lived for three years while her father works on a dam. Her best friend is Maryam, an Iranian classmate. Their happy excitement about the school play turns to fear when Maryam’s practice tape of her dance music turns out to be an Ayatollah Khomeini speech against the Shah of Iran. Suddenly the girls are swept up into the changing atmosphere of Iran: Maryam’s mother begins wearing traditional women’s clothing, anti-West protests mount, people begin carrying posters of Khomeini in parades, American expatriots become targets and are warned to “go home,” the Shah’s statue is pulled down, and finally the Shah is deposed by militants.

Mr. Graham is ordered to pack his family for home, but his passport is missing, and a note on his desk warns that he is to be tried as a spy. The search for the missing passport causes the family to miss the last bus to the airport in Abadan. A true friend, Maryam’s father attempts to drive the Grahams to the airport as bullets whiz around them. His tire is shot out, and Maryam’s uncle Gholam offers to help. He drives fast and furiously, all the while cursing foreigners and the Shah and giving the Grahams some insight into a militant’s viewpoint of the Shah’s regime, including torture and the SAVAC, the Shah’s secret police. 

Finally at the airport, the Grahams must pay an exorbitant airport tax to be allowed to race to their plane. A suitcase is dropped and instantly is grabbed by a mob of demonstrators. After pushing and pulling to get on board, Jandy has a chance to open the book Maryam gave her that is marked with a Persian proverb: “The best thing you can bring back from your travels is yourself unharmed.” The family will be back safely in Texas in time for Christmas with Grandma.

Intrigue is woven throughout the story, as is the theme of two families finding friendship and a cross-cultural understanding.

Author Hazel Spire met her Texan husband in Iran. She has won literary awards on both sides of the Atlantic. She lives in Dallas, Texas. 

Secret of the Seventh Gate Cover

The Journal of Jenny September

Author: Isaacsen-Bright

Subjects: School Experience; Family Relationships; Homelessness; Social Relationships

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8

ISBN: 978-0-89824-441-0

Order code: 4410

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4410S

The Journal of Jenny September Cover

Jenny’s teacher has required her students to do a year-long project. Twelve-year-old Jenny decides to keep a daily journal, but her teacher never expected it to be the truly extraordinary document that Jenny turns in at the end of the school year.

At the beginning of the year, her mother leaves, and Jenny and her father are soon homeless. Father and daughter go through several stages of homelessness. They first live in a VW “Bug,” spending the nights in parking lots until the police catch them. They next call a self-storage unit home until they are found out. A bus becomes home, too. At each stage, Jenny writes of the difficulties and problems involved in being homeless.

Through it all, Jenny manages to keep up with her schoolwork. One of the warm safe havens for her is the library, where she can do her homework. Jenny makes friends at the beginning of the schoolyear with a girl from a prosperous home. This is a friendship that dies as poverty and homelessness overtake Jenny. She is, however, befriended by a black male classmate who is homeless and parentless and who knows that Jenny is homeless, even though she is trying to hide it from her classmates. He introduces Jenny and her father to life under a bridge amid the flowerbeds of a park and a babbling brook.

In a humiliating incident, Jenny's former friends discover that Jenny is homeless. The yogurt shop in the shopping mall looks out over the park, and they see Jenny under the bridge.

Jenny and her father fight their way through problems during the course of the year. He manages to find work and to consolidate and pay bills. The novel ends on a note of promise. Readers will gain a great deal of compassion for the homeless through this novel.

Jenny’s teacher has required her students to do a year-long project. Twelve-year-old Jenny decides to keep a daily journal, but her teacher never expected it to be the truly extraordinary document that Jenny turns in at the end of the school year. 

At the beginning of the year, her mother leaves, and Jenny and her father are soon homeless. Father and daughter go through several stages of homelessness. They first live in a VW “Bug,” spending the nights in parking lots until the police catch them. They next call a self-storage unit home until they are found out. A bus becomes home, too. At each stage, Jenny writes of the difficulties and problems involved in being homeless.

Through it all, Jenny manages to keep up with her schoolwork. One of the warm safe havens for her is the library, where she can do her homework. Jenny makes friends at the beginning of the schoolyear with a girl from a prosperous home. This is a friendship that dies as poverty and homelessness overtake Jenny. She is, however, befriended by a black male classmate who is homeless and parentless and who knows that Jenny is homeless, even though she is trying to hide it from her classmates. He introduces Jenny and her father to life under a bridge amid the flowerbeds of a park and a babbling brook.

In a humiliating incident, Jenny's former friends discover that Jenny is homeless. The yogurt shop in the shopping mall looks out over the park, and they see Jenny under the bridge.

Jenny and her father fight their way through problems during the course of the year. He manages to find work and to consolidate and pay bills. The novel ends on a note of promise. Readers will gain a great deal of compassion for the homeless through this novel.

The Journal of Jenny September Cover

The Journal of Jenny September Sample Pages:

Belly Up

Author: Easley, MaryAnn

Subjects: Problem Solving; Sea Adventure; Sailing Ships

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8

Order code: 5515

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5515S

Belly Up Cover

"...moves quickly and stays exciting. Recommended." – The Book Report

Hit by a whale off the coast of California, Grandpa's 55-foot fishing schooner sinks, taking Grandpa with it, leaving Rachel and Boo alone, fighting to stay alive in a free-floating life raft on an ocean filled with sharks. Their fortress against nature is an orange tent-like canopy atop three black inner tubes, with a rubberized floor thin enough to feel the water moving beneath it. The story is told from fourteen-year-old Rachel's point of view; through her eyes, we see the children struggle for survival, but we also witness memories of past events involving their grandfather. Those memories create a rich picture of the old man's personality, the reason for and details about the schooner's creation, and family relationships. In addition to the personal insights, there are the dangerous mini-adventures that lend depth to the novel: the use of a gun in "fishing" for salmon, the fishing fleet's paranoia about "hot spots," enforcing the rules of the sea and of fishing boats, and the danger of fishing in freighter lanes.

The novel is off to a quick start with the shipwreck and Rachel's and Boo's reluctant acceptance of their grandfather's death and the loss of the boat. Dealing with their own possible fate rapidly moves them from contemplation to action in order to survive. Their food soon exhausted and their water turned putrid, they manage to catch flying fish and eat them raw, use fish entrails for bait, and eat fish eyeballs for liquid. They wrestle a sea turtle on board but keep only her eggs and return her to the sea. They outride a thrashing lightening storm and suffer cold, wet nights sitting in fish slime and sea salt while listening for hissing leaks in the raft's floor. They patch the floor time and time again with 90% ingenuity and 10% materials. They sunburn and blister from the blazing sun of the day. Rachel gets food poisoning. Boo is the mainstay until rescue finally comes. Belly Up is a kids-against-the-elements page-turner!

MaryAnn Easley is a member of the National Writers Association, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, PEN (an association for writers), the California Teachers Association, and the National Education Association. An educator and a gifted writer, she paints a complete picture of fishing for salmon aboard a two-mast, gaff-rigged schooner and crafts a wonderful sea adventure in which brother and sister team together to problem solve getting food and water and keeping their survival raft afloat.

Her fishing lingo is accurate. Her imagery is stunning. And it is no wonder because MaryAnn Easley for seven seasons fished commercially for king salmon with the Pacific Northwest Fleet while aboard her own 55-foot sailing schooner.

"...moves quickly and stays exciting. Recommended." – The Book Report

Hit by a whale off the coast of California, Grandpa's 55-foot fishing schooner sinks, taking Grandpa with it, leaving Rachel and Boo alone, fighting to stay alive in a free-floating life raft on an ocean filled with sharks. Their fortress against nature is an orange tent-like canopy atop three black inner tubes, with a rubberized floor thin enough to feel the water moving beneath it. The story is told from fourteen-year-old Rachel's point of view; through her eyes, we see the children struggle for survival, but we also witness memories of past events involving their grandfather. Those memories create a rich picture of the old man's personality, the reason for and details about the schooner's creation, and family relationships. In addition to the personal insights, there are the dangerous mini-adventures that lend depth to the novel: the use of a gun in "fishing" for salmon, the fishing fleet's paranoia about "hot spots," enforcing the rules of the sea and of fishing boats, and the danger of fishing in freighter lanes.

The novel is off to a quick start with the shipwreck and Rachel's and Boo's reluctant acceptance of their grandfather's death and the loss of the boat. Dealing with their own possible fate rapidly moves them from contemplation to action in order to survive. Their food soon exhausted and their water turned putrid, they manage to catch flying fish and eat them raw, use fish entrails for bait, and eat fish eyeballs for liquid. They wrestle a sea turtle on board but keep only her eggs and return her to the sea. They outride a thrashing lightening storm and suffer cold, wet nights sitting in fish slime and sea salt while listening for hissing leaks in the raft's floor. They patch the floor time and time again with 90% ingenuity and 10% materials. They sunburn and blister from the blazing sun of the day. Rachel gets food poisoning. Boo is the mainstay until rescue finally comes. Belly Up is a kids-against-the-elements page-turner!

MaryAnn Easley is a member of the National Writers Association, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, PEN (an association for writers), the California Teachers Association, and the National Education Association. An educator and a gifted writer, she paints a complete picture of fishing for salmon aboard a two-mast, gaff-rigged schooner and crafts a wonderful sea adventure in which brother and sister team together to problem solve getting food and water and keeping their survival raft afloat.

Her fishing lingo is accurate. Her imagery is stunning. And it is no wonder because MaryAnn Easley for seven seasons fished commercially for king salmon with the Pacific Northwest Fleet while aboard her own 55-foot sailing schooner.

Belly Up Cover

The Weaver's Scar: For Our Rwanda

Author: Crawford, Brian

Subjects: History; Africa; Immigration; Genocide

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 978-089824-477-9

Order code: 4779

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4779S

The Weaver's Scar: For Our Rwanda Cover

VOYA Magazine's Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
Skipping Stones Honor Award

The Weaver's Scar is a profoundly gripping, moving, terrifyingly beautiful story of one boy's escape from the horrors of the Rwandan genocide. It is the first young adult novel written in English for an American audience dealing directly with the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus, an event that resulted in the slaughter of nearly a million people. The novel is stunning in its eloquence, heartrending in its poignancy, and exquisite in its revelations, both of the characters' personal discoveries and of the history of a nation torn apart by ethnic divisions.

Faustin is a normal schoolboy who is good at running and soccer. But dark secrets of the past hang over his family, and his father disapproves of his friends and his soccer games. Things only start to make sense when the teachers at school begin to emphasize the division between the Tutsis and the Hutus—a division that even makes its way to the soccer field.

As the terrible events of the genocide unfold, Faustin experiences first-hand the horror of neighbor against neighbor. With his family slain, his only chance of survival lies in his running and his sheer courage to outwit the enemy. He does not have to do it alone, however; he discovers the value and courage of an unlikely friend. Their journey to safety unfolds in a compelling narrative that ends with both heartbreak and, later, inspiration.

The author writes: "At its core, The Weaver's Scar is not about the Rwandan genocide per se; rather, the events of 1994 serve as a backdrop to a strained relationship between two friends whose families forbid their friendship. It is about a boy who does not understand his own father and whose misunderstanding causes him to hurt his father's feelings beyond repair. It is about a father who dreams of bigger things for his son. And it is about how the scars of our past wound our present."

Because the story does unfold during the genocide, there are several chilling and horrific scenes that younger and more sensitive readers may find challenging. The lessons it imparts, however, not just about history but about personal relationships, integrity, fidelity, compassion, and humanity, make it essential reading.

As author Brian Crawford was researching and writing The Weaver’s Scar, he learned basic Kinyarwanda. The goal was to create an engaging story that would inform readers about some of the main aspects of the genocide, all the while planting a seed of compassion for characters who were caught up in that horror. Brian’s hope is that readers will be inspired to learn more and to act with empathy and kindness in their day-to-day interactions.

Reviews:

“In The Weaver’s Scar, readers will share in Faustin’s grief, anguish, and fear in this heart-breaking and well-written introduction to an area of the world rarely covered in middle school literature.” – VOYA Magazine

"The Weaver’s Scar is captivating, with a simple writing style that pulls readers in until the end. A powerful story of bravery, trust, and compassion, this book...gives an impactful and emotionally stirring experience of the tragic Rwandan genocide. The Weaver’s Scar offers readers a deeper understanding of humanity’s global connection and shared history, while providing strong support for a more peaceful, unified future." – Skipping Stones Award (see the full review)

"The Weaver’s Scar [offers] a perfect balance of social and historical context on one hand and a tale of two unlikely friends trying to escape a wave of violence they barely understand on the other. ...I think we sell young readers short when we assume they will not want to read this kind of book.... The Rwandan genocide belied the post-Holocaust statement of 'never again,' and keeping our young people ignorant is going to mean that more 'never agains' happen again." – Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author, from The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children's Literature

"Crawford paints a vivid picture of both the horrifying events that Faustin survives and his fortuitous rescue and later immigration to America.... The dramatic first-person narrative allows readers to experience the story through Faustin's eyes, encouraging empathy and understanding." – School Library Journal

"It can be difficult to find a book that deals with tough real-world issues in a way that's sensitive to the developmental needs of middle school students. The Weaver's Scar fills this need nicely and is a fantastic addition to any social studies or English curriculum. Solidly rooted in history, this earnest tale of survival and growth will resonate with teachers and students alike. After studying the history of Rwanda and colonialism as a class, reading this novel brought the abstract dates on a page to life with relatable characters and developmentally appropriate themes." – Matt Stenovec, middle school humanities teacher and faculty team leader, Soundview School, Lynnwood, WA

"The weaver is the persistent little bird that surmounts every reversal of fortune as it tries to create a nest to procreate, always returning to square one, no matter how many obstacles it faces. Faustin received a scar in a soccer match with the Hutu boy who later befriended him. Faustin’s father had a scar on his ankle from the 1959 revolution that crippled him. Like the weaver bird, father and son continued to press their love of life despite their injuries. Crawford’s lesson is that this little bird is a metaphor for how Rwanda should overcome its past and prosecute its future. [This book] is a good introduction to Rwanda and its troubled past by an author and teacher who knows the situation well. It is an excellent read." – Professor Augustine Brannigan, University of Calgary, author of Beyond the Banality of Evil

"This wonderful young adult novel is a great and lasting accomplishment. The story is suspenseful, the characters vivid, and it teaches a lot of things, not just about Rwanda but also about friendship, life, kindness. Over the years, I have read this and that about the Rwandan genocide, book chapters, articles in magazines and newspapers, but the story of the friendship of Deo and Faustin is to me one of the most memorable…. The tone is serious but not preachy; it is accessible but by no means unsophisticated; it shows reality, but because its characters are fully fleshed-out, contradictory human beings, even the most gruesome events become comprehensible to the degree that the characters themselves can understand and process them.... It is a great read.”  – Dr. Martin Kagel, A.G. Steer Professor and Head of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Georgia

"From the first page I was fascinated by this harrowing tale of survival and friendship. Bringing to life the disturbing news of genocide in Rwanda, Crawford puts a human face on the people who lived through these terrible events. The tale of Faustin is gripping, captivating, and ultimately timeless. It is a story ripe for discussion on both a human and a literary level."  – Debbie Pearson, librarian, Seattle Country Day School

"It's hard to imagine a more compelling story. Faustin and Deo are forced into horrifying situations, but their journey, and the choices they make along the way, are true to the characters as well as the devastating history of the conflict. The Weaver's Scar should be in every school library. It will be an excellent addition to English and history curriculum."  – Sam Harris, M.Ed., MLIS, middle school librarian, Charles Wright Academy

VOYA Magazine's Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
Skipping Stones Honor Award

The Weaver's Scar is a profoundly gripping, moving, terrifyingly beautiful story of one boy's escape from the horrors of the Rwandan genocide. It is the first young adult novel written in English for an American audience dealing directly with the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus, an event that resulted in the slaughter of nearly a million people. The novel is stunning in its eloquence, heartrending in its poignancy, and exquisite in its revelations, both of the characters' personal discoveries and of the history of a nation torn apart by ethnic divisions.

Faustin is a normal schoolboy who is good at running and soccer. But dark secrets of the past hang over his family, and his father disapproves of his friends and his soccer games. Things only start to make sense when the teachers at school begin to emphasize the division between the Tutsis and the Hutus—a division that even makes its way to the soccer field.

As the terrible events of the genocide unfold, Faustin experiences first-hand the horror of neighbor against neighbor. With his family slain, his only chance of survival lies in his running and his sheer courage to outwit the enemy. He does not have to do it alone, however; he discovers the value and courage of an unlikely friend. Their journey to safety unfolds in a compelling narrative that ends with both heartbreak and, later, inspiration.

The author writes: "At its core, The Weaver's Scar is not about the Rwandan genocide per se; rather, the events of 1994 serve as a backdrop to a strained relationship between two friends whose families forbid their friendship. It is about a boy who does not understand his own father and whose misunderstanding causes him to hurt his father's feelings beyond repair. It is about a father who dreams of bigger things for his son. And it is about how the scars of our past wound our present."

Because the story does unfold during the genocide, there are several chilling and horrific scenes that younger and more sensitive readers may find challenging. The lessons it imparts, however, not just about history but about personal relationships, integrity, fidelity, compassion, and humanity, make it essential reading.

As author Brian Crawford was researching and writing The Weaver’s Scar, he learned basic Kinyarwanda. The goal was to create an engaging story that would inform readers about some of the main aspects of the genocide, all the while planting a seed of compassion for characters who were caught up in that horror. Brian’s hope is that readers will be inspired to learn more and to act with empathy and kindness in their day-to-day interactions.

Reviews:

“In The Weaver’s Scar, readers will share in Faustin’s grief, anguish, and fear in this heart-breaking and well-written introduction to an area of the world rarely covered in middle school literature.” – VOYA Magazine

"The Weaver’s Scar is captivating, with a simple writing style that pulls readers in until the end. A powerful story of bravery, trust, and compassion, this book...gives an impactful and emotionally stirring experience of the tragic Rwandan genocide. The Weaver’s Scar offers readers a deeper understanding of humanity’s global connection and shared history, while providing strong support for a more peaceful, unified future." – Skipping Stones Award (see the full review)

"The Weaver’s Scar [offers] a perfect balance of social and historical context on one hand and a tale of two unlikely friends trying to escape a wave of violence they barely understand on the other. ...I think we sell young readers short when we assume they will not want to read this kind of book.... The Rwandan genocide belied the post-Holocaust statement of 'never again,' and keeping our young people ignorant is going to mean that more 'never agains' happen again." – Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author, from The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children's Literature 

"Crawford paints a vivid picture of both the horrifying events that Faustin survives and his fortuitous rescue and later immigration to America.... The dramatic first-person narrative allows readers to experience the story through Faustin's eyes, encouraging empathy and understanding." – School Library Journal

"It can be difficult to find a book that deals with tough real-world issues in a way that's sensitive to the developmental needs of middle school students. The Weaver's Scar fills this need nicely and is a fantastic addition to any social studies or English curriculum. Solidly rooted in history, this earnest tale of survival and growth will resonate with teachers and students alike. After studying the history of Rwanda and colonialism as a class, reading this novel brought the abstract dates on a page to life with relatable characters and developmentally appropriate themes." – Matt Stenovec, middle school humanities teacher and faculty team leader, Soundview School, Lynnwood, WA

"The weaver is the persistent little bird that surmounts every reversal of fortune as it tries to create a nest to procreate, always returning to square one, no matter how many obstacles it faces. Faustin received a scar in a soccer match with the Hutu boy who later befriended him. Faustin’s father had a scar on his ankle from the 1959 revolution that crippled him. Like the weaver bird, father and son continued to press their love of life despite their injuries. Crawford’s lesson is that this little bird is a metaphor for how Rwanda should overcome its past and prosecute its future. [This book] is a good introduction to Rwanda and its troubled past by an author and teacher who knows the situation well. It is an excellent read." – Professor Augustine Brannigan, University of Calgary, author of Beyond the Banality of Evil

"This wonderful young adult novel is a great and lasting accomplishment. The story is suspenseful, the characters vivid, and it teaches a lot of things, not just about Rwanda but also about friendship, life, kindness. Over the years, I have read this and that about the Rwandan genocide, book chapters, articles in magazines and newspapers, but the story of the friendship of Deo and Faustin is to me one of the most memorable…. The tone is serious but not preachy; it is accessible but by no means unsophisticated; it shows reality, but because its characters are fully fleshed-out, contradictory human beings, even the most gruesome events become comprehensible to the degree that the characters themselves can understand and process them.... It is a great read.”  – Dr. Martin Kagel, A.G. Steer Professor and Head of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Georgia

"From the first page I was fascinated by this harrowing tale of survival and friendship. Bringing to life the disturbing news of genocide in Rwanda, Crawford puts a human face on the people who lived through these terrible events. The tale of Faustin is gripping, captivating, and ultimately timeless. It is a story ripe for discussion on both a human and a literary level."  – Debbie Pearson, librarian, Seattle Country Day School

"It's hard to imagine a more compelling story. Faustin and Deo are forced into horrifying situations, but their journey, and the choices they make along the way, are true to the characters as well as the devastating history of the conflict. The Weaver's Scar should be in every school library. It will be an excellent addition to English and history curriculum."  – Sam Harris, M.Ed., MLIS, middle school librarian, Charles Wright Academy

The Weaver's Scar: For Our Rwanda Cover

The Weaver's Scar Sample Pages:

Links

Most Beautiful: A 9/11 Novel

Author: Burrows, Jennifer S.

Subjects: American History; 9/11; Growing Up

Age: 10, 11, 12

Grade: 5, 6, 7

ISBN: 978-0-89824-376-5

Order code: 3765

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Most Beautiful: A 9/11 Novel Cover

It is the summer of 2001. Ali Miller’s given name is Alikah, which means “most beautiful.” She hates her name because she feels that she is not beautiful at all. When she and her family move away from New York City, not only does Ali have to leave behind her best friend, but she also has to adjust to an unfamiliar life in the country—and no one seems to care.

The novel is told in the recognizable voice of an eleven-year-old, full of negative thoughts about moving to the country away from her friends, fearful about starting at a new school, beset with feelings of insecurity about her looks, and continually irritated by her younger siblings.

Ali starts school on September 5 and thinks that her teacher is tough, but she likes her. She has to start a journal at home and decides to write fake journal entries to try to catch her mom reading her journal. The first one doesn’t work, but Ali is sure that the second one will make her mother freak out.

On September 11, Ali’s mom shows up at school. Ali thinks that she must be in trouble because of her fake journal entry, but she soon finds out that two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, and she, like most people upon hearing the news, is devastated. Her father would have been working there if they had not moved away. After September 11, it is not only Ali who changes; her parents pay her more attention and focus on what really matters. Ali decides to stop feeling sorry for herself and to reinvent herself into someone who has changed on the inside, where true beauty resides.

The book captures in a sensitive, gentle, nonthreatening way the essence of the feelings that Americans shared after 9/11.

Jennifer S. Burrows is a former teacher with a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, and a master’s degree in education from State University of New York in Brockport. Although she has written several books for children, this was her first middle-grade novel. Burrows was born and raised in western New York, and she now lives in the Rochester area. She is a member of the September 11th Education Trust, an organization that is striving to bring curriculum concerning September 11th into classrooms in New York state.

She says: “I developed the idea for this book as I watched the details of 9/11 unfold on TV. My own children were too young to understand what was happening at the time, and I felt that it was important to share the details with children in a way that wouldn’t be terrifying, gruesome, or political. This book is my way of doing that. I also wanted to capture the inner beauty I saw in people following these events. Inner beauty is a topic that I feel strongly about and would like to instill in children.”

Review:
"Most Beautiful is wonderful book, with a coming of age tone that draws readers to its sense of beauty within the struggle. Jennifer Burrows weaves hope throughout the story, helping her readers to see that indeed life can come from ashes." – Lacy Finn Borgo, author

It is the summer of 2001. Ali Miller’s given name is Alikah, which means “most beautiful.” She hates her name because she feels that she is not beautiful at all. When she and her family move away from New York City, not only does Ali have to leave behind her best friend, but she also has to adjust to an unfamiliar life in the country—and no one seems to care.

The novel is told in the recognizable voice of an eleven-year-old, full of negative thoughts about moving to the country away from her friends, fearful about starting at a new school, beset with feelings of insecurity about her looks, and continually irritated by her younger siblings.

Ali starts school on September 5 and thinks that her teacher is tough, but she likes her. She has to start a journal at home and decides to write fake journal entries to try to catch her mom reading her journal. The first one doesn’t work, but Ali is sure that the second one will make her mother freak out.

On September 11, Ali’s mom shows up at school. Ali thinks that she must be in trouble because of her fake journal entry, but she soon finds out that two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, and she, like most people upon hearing the news, is devastated. Her father would have been working there if they had not moved away. After September 11, it is not only Ali who changes; her parents pay her more attention and focus on what really matters. Ali decides to stop feeling sorry for herself and to reinvent herself into someone who has changed on the inside, where true beauty resides.

The book captures in a sensitive, gentle, nonthreatening way the essence of the feelings that Americans shared after 9/11.

Jennifer S. Burrows is a former teacher with a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, and a master’s degree in education from State University of New York in Brockport. Although she has written several books for children, this was her first middle-grade novel. Burrows was born and raised in western New York, and she now lives in the Rochester area. She is a member of the September 11th Education Trust, an organization that is striving to bring curriculum concerning September 11th into classrooms in New York state.

She says: “I developed the idea for this book as I watched the details of 9/11 unfold on TV. My own children were too young to understand what was happening at the time, and I felt that it was important to share the details with children in a way that wouldn’t be terrifying, gruesome, or political. This book is my way of doing that. I also wanted to capture the inner beauty I saw in people following these events. Inner beauty is a topic that I feel strongly about and would like to instill in children.”

Review:
"Most Beautiful is wonderful book, with a coming of age tone that draws readers to its sense of beauty within the struggle. Jennifer Burrows weaves hope throughout the story, helping her readers to see that indeed life can come from ashes." – Lacy Finn Borgo, author

Most Beautiful: A 9/11 Novel Cover

Most Beautiful Sample Pages:

The Hot Hurry of Mercurial Fleeting

Author: Loe, Steve

Subjects: Family Relationships; Anger Management; Social Relationships; Growing Up

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

ISBN: 978-0-88092-433-7

Order code: 4337

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4337S

The Hot Hurry of Mercurial Fleeting Cover

Mercurial Fleeting and her mother are on the run again—once more trying to escape a painful part of their past. Of course, another move means a new school, which does not help Mercurial’s anger issues. She can lose control in ways no one forgets. But this latest move lands her in a tiny apartment within a self-storage complex and in a school where the kids seem unusually welcoming. Mercurial meets some cool new friends and builds relationships with a strange set of special clients at the self-storage complex.

However, Mercurial tries too hard to create a permanent place for herself in the world and oversteps the line at her new school. She’s attacked on the soccer field, ends up on crutches, and faces threats of worse to come. Soon these threats extend to the special clients at the self-storage complex, and Mercurial must make a life-changing decision either to skip town or to stay.

Coping with it all has Mercurial frequently in trouble. Her anger issues are monumental, and her lies have a habit of catching up with her. But to the surprise of everyone, she finds stability and friendships among a wonderful array of characters who need her help.

Author Steve Loe says that one of his aims in writing the novel was “to show that no matter how ugly life can get, keep hoping—if you persist, things will get better. And families come in all shapes and sizes and are the ultimate teams that support individual progress.”  He is also the author of The Glimpsing Book.

Mercurial Fleeting and her mother are on the run again—once more trying to escape a painful part of their past. Of course, another move means a new school, which does not help Mercurial’s anger issues. She can lose control in ways no one forgets. But this latest move lands her in a tiny apartment within a self-storage complex and in a school where the kids seem unusually welcoming. Mercurial meets some cool new friends and builds relationships with a strange set of special clients at the self-storage complex.

However, Mercurial tries too hard to create a permanent place for herself in the world and oversteps the line at her new school. She’s attacked on the soccer field, ends up on crutches, and faces threats of worse to come. Soon these threats extend to the special clients at the self-storage complex, and Mercurial must make a life-changing decision either to skip town or to stay.

Coping with it all has Mercurial frequently in trouble. Her anger issues are monumental, and her lies have a habit of catching up with her. But to the surprise of everyone, she finds stability and friendships among a wonderful array of characters who need her help.

Author Steve Loe says that one of his aims in writing the novel was “to show that no matter how ugly life can get, keep hoping—if you persist, things will get better. And families come in all shapes and sizes and are the ultimate teams that support individual progress.”  He is also the author of The Glimpsing Book.

The Hot Hurry of Mercurial Fleeting Cover

The Hot Hurry of Mecurial Fleeting sample pages:

The Glimpsing Book

Author: Loe, Steve

Subjects: Fantasy; Imagination

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

ISBN: 978-0-88092-594-5

Order code: 5945

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5945S

The Glimpsing Book Cover

"This is a terrifically entertaining read from start to finish and highly recommended for school and community library fantasy fiction collections." – Midwest Book Review

"...imagination, fantasy, and uniquely interwoven plots keep the reader turning pages..." – KNEA Reading Circle

The Glimpsing Book celebrates reading, imagination, and the human potential for good. Read it if you’re a kid; read it to your kids if you’re an adult, and believe in the impossible maybe.” – Lois Ruby, children’s and young adult author

"The book is so structured that readers will find the journey throughout the various plots so compelling they simply will not put the book down." – Dr. John H. Bushman, author, educator, and director of The Writing Conference, Inc.

Steve Loe’s first novel highlights the power of imagination in young people. A strange new librarian and a cryptic book collide in the lives of two pre-teens as they embark on a journey far beyond the back of the library. TP Burton and Henrietta Harper discover that reading, like life, is not a spectator sport, and the power of a great story has the magic to make the seemingly impossible possible.

On the other hand, Sebastian Wey believes only in logical explanations. When he uncovers several historical photographs that hold clues to the mysterious book, his reasonable world smashes directly into Henrietta, a reclusive twelve-year-old mourning the premature death of her mother. Henrietta deals with her loss by hiding in the back of the library, where the pain of reality melts away as she loses herself in the fascinating realm of fantasy novels.

With the power of a megaton magnet, the baffling text draws the two strangers together, challenging Sebastian’s logical mind as they begin to understand that the mystical manuscript changes each time it is read. Eventually they grasp that the book’s living storyline offers each reader glimpses into his or her future.

Author Steve Loe says of his intentions for The Glimpsing Book:It is my hope that because of the differences among the three main characters—a lonely girl who loves to read, a strong-willed graffiti artist, and an analytical boy who can solve any puzzle—anyone with a love of magic and mystery will enjoy reading The Glimpsing Book.  He is also the author of The Hot Hurry of Mecurial Fleeting.

"This is a terrifically entertaining read from start to finish and highly recommended for school and community library fantasy fiction collections." – Midwest Book Review

"...imagination, fantasy, and uniquely interwoven plots keep the reader turning pages..." – KNEA Reading Circle

The Glimpsing Book celebrates reading, imagination, and the human potential for good. Read it if you’re a kid; read it to your kids if you’re an adult, and believe in the impossible maybe.” – Lois Ruby, children’s and young adult author

"The book is so structured that readers will find the journey throughout the various plots so compelling they simply will not put the book down." – Dr. John H. Bushman, author, educator, and director of The Writing Conference, Inc.

Steve Loe’s first novel highlights the power of imagination in young people. A strange new librarian and a cryptic book collide in the lives of two pre-teens as they embark on a journey far beyond the back of the library. TP Burton and Henrietta Harper discover that reading, like life, is not a spectator sport, and the power of a great story has the magic to make the seemingly impossible possible.

On the other hand, Sebastian Wey believes only in logical explanations. When he uncovers several historical photographs that hold clues to the mysterious book, his reasonable world smashes directly into Henrietta, a reclusive twelve-year-old mourning the premature death of her mother. Henrietta deals with her loss by hiding in the back of the library, where the pain of reality melts away as she loses herself in the fascinating realm of fantasy novels.

With the power of a megaton magnet, the baffling text draws the two strangers together, challenging Sebastian’s logical mind as they begin to understand that the mystical manuscript changes each time it is read. Eventually they grasp that the book’s living storyline offers each reader glimpses into his or her future.

Author Steve Loe says of his intentions for The Glimpsing Book:It is my hope that because of the differences among the three main characters—a lonely girl who loves to read, a strong-willed graffiti artist, and an analytical boy who can solve any puzzle—anyone with a love of magic and mystery will enjoy reading The Glimpsing Book.  He is also the author of The Hot Hurry of Mecurial Fleeting.

The Glimpsing Book Cover

The Glimpsing Book sample pages:

Old Bones

Author: Helmuth, Willard

Subjects: Grandparents; Growing Up/Boys

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 78-0-88092-495-5

Order code: 4955

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Old Bones Cover

Old Bones is Jeremy Arkwell’s new step-grandfather, and he's an embarrassment to say the least! Coping with him is more than Jeremy bargained for. But it turns out that Old Bones is something of a mechanic, and he's able to turn a pile of junk into a homemade ATV. Besides that, he's not beyond an adventure or two when he and Jeremy can get out of the sight of responsible adults. Plus, there's an intriguing mystery about the old man. Living in the country might not turn out so badly after all.

Author Willard Helmuth, M.D., is a pediatrician and the medical director of the Union County (North Carolina) Health Department, where he is in charge of the programs for immunizations and infectious diseases. He also has a high-risk pediatric clinic there for economically deprived children. He writes: "All of my previous books were about children with disabilities, and although they were works of fiction, they were based on children that I took care of in my practice of pediatrics and neonatology. I took a different approach with Old Bones. My father-in-law lived with us for a few years before his death. He had significant neurological problems, so his care was not easy. However, there were also times of great joy, and it gave me insight into what he was going through. He maintained a sense of humor and called himself Old Bones—hence the title of the book. It was also interesting to see how children interacted with him, and that gave me the inspiration for the book."

Dr. Helmuth is also the author of Climbing up to the Tree House, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

According to one reader:

"I really enjoyed Old Bones because it was refreshing to have a main character who wasn't at all perfect, having struggles to overcome his own feelings. It was filled with sayings that really pull you into laughing along with the characters." – Morgan, age 11

Old Bones is Jeremy Arkwell’s new step-grandfather, and he's an embarrassment to say the least! Coping with him is more than Jeremy bargained for. But it turns out that Old Bones is something of a mechanic, and he's able to turn a pile of junk into a homemade ATV. Besides that, he's not beyond an adventure or two when he and Jeremy can get out of the sight of responsible adults. Plus, there's an intriguing mystery about the old man. Living in the country might not turn out so badly after all.

Author Willard Helmuth, M.D., is a pediatrician and the medical director of the Union County (North Carolina) Health Department, where he is in charge of the programs for immunizations and infectious diseases. He also has a high-risk pediatric clinic there for economically deprived children. He writes: "All of my previous books were about children with disabilities, and although they were works of fiction, they were based on children that I took care of in my practice of pediatrics and neonatology. I took a different approach with Old Bones. My father-in-law lived with us for a few years before his death. He had significant neurological problems, so his care was not easy. However, there were also times of great joy, and it gave me insight into what he was going through. He maintained a sense of humor and called himself Old Bones—hence the title of the book. It was also interesting to see how children interacted with him, and that gave me the inspiration for the book."

Dr. Helmuth is also the author of Climbing up to the Tree House, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

According to one reader:

"I really enjoyed Old Bones because it was refreshing to have a main character who wasn't at all perfect, having struggles to overcome his own feelings. It was filled with sayings that really pull you into laughing along with the characters." – Morgan, age 11

Old Bones Cover

Old Bones sample pages:

The Horse Lady

Author: Culverwell, C. Ellen

Subjects: Horses; Growing Up

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8

ISBN: 978-0880927239

Order code: 7239

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 7239S

The Horse Lady Cover

Maggie Forrester, who has gone to Vermont to live with her grandfather after her parents' death, has to adjust to a new life. It's not long before she begins hearing rumors that a neighbor, known as The Horse Lady, is weird. Naturally she cannot resist finding out for herself. But when Maggie finally meets The Horse Lady, she encounters a kind woman who looks after horses taken from people who abused or neglected them. Maggie soon finds herself welcomed into a richly rewarding world of caring for the horses—a world that is unexpectedly threatened.

This is a vivid and moving novel about horses; it is also an enlightening story about the complexity and value of human relationships and about a girl growing up with different generations. 

C. Ellen Culverwell lives on a farm not unlike The Horse Lady's farm. Her daughter Hayley lives on an adjoining farm, and together, much like the Claire and Maggie characters of the novel, they have rescued and rehabilitated horses. In her youth, Ellen was a competition rider but now is content to train her daughter in hunter/jumpers. Like the character of Maggie, her daughter Hayley lost her father when she was young, and mother and daughter used the horses to bond and to fill a void in their lives. 

Reviews:

"C. Ellen Culverwell's The Horse Lady is a touching story about loss and the power of 'family' to transcend tragedy through love. Horse aficionados of all ages will appreciate Culverwell's ability to model horse care, handling, and what true horsemanship entails through the characters in her story. The Horse Lady is full of life lessons and rich thematic content that makes it ideal for the educational setting as well. As both a horse breeder and teacher, Culverwell crafts a story that is rich in detail, with surprises at every bend which will keep the reader turning the pages until the very end." – Erika Stormer, reading teacher and Morgan horse breeder

"Countless times I have seen the aftermath of what death, divorce, and custody hearings can do to both children and adults. I appreciate the way those situations are handled in Ms. Culverwell’s novels. The characters deal with them in a direct and positive manner. If there is one message I take from her work it is that family are the people who love you, not necessarily the ones you are related to." – Deborah A. Montesanti, former deputy sheriff serving also in community outreach programs

Maggie Forrester, who has gone to Vermont to live with her grandfather after her parents' death, has to adjust to a new life. It's not long before she begins hearing rumors that a neighbor, known as The Horse Lady, is weird. Naturally she cannot resist finding out for herself. But when Maggie finally meets The Horse Lady, she encounters a kind woman who looks after horses taken from people who abused or neglected them. Maggie soon finds herself welcomed into a richly rewarding world of caring for the horses—a world that is unexpectedly threatened.

This is a vivid and moving novel about horses; it is also an enlightening story about the complexity and value of human relationships and about a girl growing up with different generations. 

C. Ellen Culverwell lives on a farm not unlike The Horse Lady's farm. Her daughter Hayley lives on an adjoining farm, and together, much like the Claire and Maggie characters of the novel, they have rescued and rehabilitated horses. In her youth, Ellen was a competition rider but now is content to train her daughter in hunter/jumpers. Like the character of Maggie, her daughter Hayley lost her father when she was young, and mother and daughter used the horses to bond and to fill a void in their lives. 

Reviews:

"C. Ellen Culverwell's The Horse Lady is a touching story about loss and the power of 'family' to transcend tragedy through love. Horse aficionados of all ages will appreciate Culverwell's ability to model horse care, handling, and what true horsemanship entails through the characters in her story. The Horse Lady is full of life lessons and rich thematic content that makes it ideal for the educational setting as well. As both a horse breeder and teacher, Culverwell crafts a story that is rich in detail, with surprises at every bend which will keep the reader turning the pages until the very end." – Erika Stormer, reading teacher and Morgan horse breeder

"Countless times I have seen the aftermath of what death, divorce, and custody hearings can do to both children and adults. I appreciate the way those situations are handled in Ms. Culverwell’s novels. The characters deal with them in a direct and positive manner. If there is one message I take from her work it is that family are the people who love you, not necessarily the ones you are related to." – Deborah A. Montesanti, former deputy sheriff serving also in community outreach programs

The Horse Lady Cover

The Horse Lady Sample Pages:

Blind Horse Bluff

Author: Culverwell, C. Ellen

Subjects: Horses; Disabilities; Growing Up

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092-483-2

Order code: 4832

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Blind Horse Bluff Cover

“Horses are just like people,” says Claire Westfield, otherwise known as The Horse Lady. Young Maggie Forrester, an orphan who lives with her grandfather, and Claire, whom she helps in her work with abused horses, spend their summer at St. Michael’s, a facility for the blind and handicapped. Here they have to deal with damaged teens as well as horses.

They have students who have a variety of disabilities and who cope in a variety of ways. Most of them appreciate the activity and confidence that riding gives them. The exception is Jeremy, who is blind, privileged, emotionally deprived, resistant, and uncooperative. Claire has the idea that a blind horse could help him, especially if Jeremy is not aware that the horse is blind.

Everyone, including Claire and Maggie, has much to learn in this sequel to Ellen Culverwell’s first novel, The Horse Lady.

C. Ellen Culverwell and her daughter, Hayley, who designs the covers for the books, live on adjoining farms in northern New York. In her youth, Ellen was a competition rider but now is content to train her daughter in hunter/jumpers. Like the character of Maggie, her daughter Hayley lost her father when she was young. Mother and daughter used the rehabilitation of horses to bond and to fill a void in their lives.

Reviews:

"Blind Horse Bluff is a thoughtful, uplifting story, highly recommended for young adults." – Midwest Book Review

"Countless times I have seen the aftermath of what death, divorce, and custody hearings can do to both children and adults. I appreciate the way those situations are handled in Ms. Culverwell’s novels. The characters deal with them in a direct and positive manner. If there is one message I take from her work it is that family are the people who love you, not necessarily the ones you are related to." – Deborah A. Montesanti, former deputy sheriff serving also in community outreach programs

“Horses are just like people,” says Claire Westfield, otherwise known as The Horse Lady. Young Maggie Forrester, an orphan who lives with her grandfather, and Claire, whom she helps in her work with abused horses, spend their summer at St. Michael’s, a facility for the blind and handicapped. Here they have to deal with damaged teens as well as horses.

They have students who have a variety of disabilities and who cope in a variety of ways. Most of them appreciate the activity and confidence that riding gives them. The exception is Jeremy, who is blind, privileged, emotionally deprived, resistant, and uncooperative. Claire has the idea that a blind horse could help him, especially if Jeremy is not aware that the horse is blind.

Everyone, including Claire and Maggie, has much to learn in this sequel to Ellen Culverwell’s first novel, The Horse Lady.

C. Ellen Culverwell and her daughter, Hayley, who designs the covers for the books, live on adjoining farms in northern New York. In her youth, Ellen was a competition rider but now is content to train her daughter in hunter/jumpers. Like the character of Maggie, her daughter Hayley lost her father when she was young. Mother and daughter used the rehabilitation of horses to bond and to fill a void in their lives.

Reviews:

"Blind Horse Bluff is a thoughtful, uplifting story, highly recommended for young adults." – Midwest Book Review

"Countless times I have seen the aftermath of what death, divorce, and custody hearings can do to both children and adults. I appreciate the way those situations are handled in Ms. Culverwell’s novels. The characters deal with them in a direct and positive manner. If there is one message I take from her work it is that family are the people who love you, not necessarily the ones you are related to." – Deborah A. Montesanti, former deputy sheriff serving also in community outreach programs

Blind Horse Bluff Cover

Blind Horse Bluff Sample Pages:

Climbing up to the Tree House

Author: Helmuth, Willard

Subjects: Guidance; Abuse

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

ISBN: 978-0-89824-566-0

Order code: 5660

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Climbing up to the Tree House Cover

An important, sensitive, and uncompromising middle school novel about sexual abuse

Climbing up to the Tree House is about two girls: Lily, an American, and Antoinette from Haiti. Though their backgrounds could not be more different, both are victims of sexual abuse. How they become friends, how they are helped to talk about their experiences, and how they start to help others make for an original young adult novel that is uncomfortable but important for its honesty. 

When Lily goes to Haiti with a medical charity, she sees how poverty, deprivation, and tradition affect the lives of children. After hearing Antoinette’s story, Lily is able to confront her own secret and to tell her parents. Back in America, her parents and her church realize what must be done. Doctors, counselors, and special police ensure that Lily’s abuser is confronted and punished. Soon Antoinette is adopted and comes to live near Lily. Supporting each other, they begin to rebuild their lives. Author Dr. Willard Helmuth is uncompromising in the details of the book; through Lily’s voice, he tells the story with compassion and sensitivity.

Willard Helmuth, M.D., is a pediatrician who, with his wife Loretta, has worked in volunteer clinics in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He is the medical director of the Tree House Children’s Advocacy Center in Monroe, North Carolina, a clinic for the evaluation of sexually or physically abused children. As a medical examiner, he takes part in the medical exams, forensic interviews, psychological evaluation, and counseling for these children. He also works closely with the district attorney and spends time in court as cases are prosecuted. In May 2014, the Tree House Children’s Advocacy Center named its medical room in his honor. He writes, "This story is based on children I have encountered. The story of Lily and Antoinette is a disturbing one, but the sad reality is that many children I have treated have been abused to a far greater extent than you will read about here. This book is dedicated to those children." 

Dr. Helmuth’s is also the author of Old Bones, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

An important, sensitive, and uncompromising middle school novel about sexual abuse

Climbing up to the Tree House is about two girls: Lily, an American, and Antoinette from Haiti. Though their backgrounds could not be more different, both are victims of sexual abuse. How they become friends, how they are helped to talk about their experiences, and how they start to help others make for an original young adult novel that is uncomfortable but important for its honesty.

When Lily goes to Haiti with a medical charity, she sees how poverty, deprivation, and tradition affect the lives of children. After hearing Antoinette’s story, Lily is able to confront her own secret and to tell her parents. Back in America, her parents and her church realize what must be done. Doctors, counselors, and special police ensure that Lily’s abuser is confronted and punished. Soon Antoinette is adopted and comes to live near Lily. Supporting each other, they begin to rebuild their lives. Author Dr. Willard Helmuth is uncompromising in the details of the book; through Lily’s voice, he tells the story with compassion and sensitivity.

Willard Helmuth, M.D., is a pediatrician who, with his wife Loretta, has worked in volunteer clinics in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He is the medical director of the Tree House Children’s Advocacy Center in Monroe, North Carolina, a clinic for the evaluation of sexually or physically abused children. As a medical examiner, he takes part in the medical exams, forensic interviews, psychological evaluation, and counseling for these children. He also works closely with the district attorney and spends time in court as cases are prosecuted. In May 2014, the Tree House Children’s Advocacy Center named its medical room in his honor. He writes, "This story is based on children I have encountered. The story of Lily and Antoinette is a disturbing one, but the sad reality is that many children I have treated have been abused to a far greater extent than you will read about here. This book is dedicated to those children."

Dr. Helmuth’s is also the author of Old Bones, published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Climbing up to the Tree House Cover

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