Tag Archives: novels

Refugee, Alan Gratz


Wow. The power of stories is exemplified in this novel. It’s fiction BUT based on absolutely true events and people. If books are mirrors of the world, of real life – then this book can only teach us empathy and compassion…

Published by Scholastic and written by a skilled writer of books for children, this one is for older readers. I would not quite give this to my 11 year old grandson yet. Three horrific stories in one:

Three different kids, three different eras, but the same mission for each of them and their families –

Josef, a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. Having survived Kristalnacht and with the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

Isabel lives in Cuba in 1994. Riots, hunger and unrest plague her country, and she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

Mahmoud lives in Aleppo, Syria in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward the safety of Europe…

Each faces a harrowing journey in search of a safe place to live. All face unimaginable dangers – from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is still the hope of tomorrow. Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, yet surprising connections tie their stories together in the end – showing that each of us has an obligation to help others in this life, in this one world we share.

A portion of the sale of this book is donated by the author to Save The Children and UNICEF.

January Books!


Any book can be read at any time. But some books are particularly suited for a certain time of year. Here are my recommendations, both picturebooks (P) and novels (N), for January. For my selections I focused on the weather, on new beginnings and just books that felt like… well, January books:

  • I Stood Upon A Mountain, Aileen Fisher (P)
      • The Boy Who Walked Bacwards by Ben Sures (P)  (http://www.bensures.com/book-publication/)
  • January’s Sparrow by Patricia Polacco (P)
  • No Fixed Address by Nielsen, Susin (N)
  • The Lost Words by Macfarlane, Robert (P)
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett (P)
  • One Year in Coal Harbor, Horvath, Polly (N)
  • An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston (P)
  • Today Is the Day by Walters, Eric (P)
  • If Kids Ruled the World by Bailey, Linda  (P)
  • Something Else by Cave, Kathryn (P)
  • Countdown by Mikaelson, Ben (N)
  • Something From Nothing by Gilman, Phoebe (P)
  • It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles by Prelutsky, Jack (poetry)
  • Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails by Kusugak, Michael Arvaarluk (P)
  • Nightjohn by Paulsen, Gary (N)
  • The Wednesday Surprise by Bunting, Eve (P)
  • Sleepy Bears by Fox, Mem (P)
  • Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt by Barbara Smucker (P)

Stay tuned for lists for each month as well as for global and nonfiction themes.