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Immigrant Stories

Immigrant Stories

Here are some favorite books that will give you a chance to walk in the shoes of someone coming to America from somewhere new. You will meet some good friends in these stories. They are so strong and brave! Many of the stories are based on real people, often the author or a relative of the author.

anna-and-solomon_1Anna and Solomon – Based on the story of the author’s grandparents’ migration to the United States from late-nineteenth-century Russia, shares how Solomon moved to the U.S. first, where he worked to save money for Anna to join him.

cora-cooks-pancit_1Cora Cooks Pancit – When all her older siblings are away, Cora’s mother finally lets her help make pancit, a Filipino noodle dish. Includes recipe for pancit.

the-day-of-the-pelicanThe Day of the Pelican – In 1998 when the Kosovo hostilities escalate, thirteen-year-old Meli’s life as an ethnic Albanian, changes forever after her brother escapes his Serbian captors and the entire family flees from one refugee camp to another until they are able to immigrate to America.

drita-my-homegirlDrita My Homegirl – When ten-year-old Drita and her family, refugees from Kosovo, move to New York, Drita is teased about not speaking English well, but after a popular student named Maxine is forced to learn about Kosovo as a punishment for teasing Drita, the two girls soon bond.

esperanza-risingEsperanza Rising – Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression. Disponible en español: Esperanza Renace, Pura Belpré medal winner for narrative, 2002.

four-feet-two-sandals_1Four Feet Two Sandals – Two young Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan share a precious pair of sandals brought by relief workers.

going-home_1Going Home  Although a Mexican family comes to the United States to work as farm laborers so that their children will have opportunities, the parents still consider Mexico their home.

grandfathers-journey_1Grandfather’s Journey – A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries. Caldecott Medal Winner, 1994.

heart-of-a-samurai_2Heart of a Samurai – In 1841, rescued by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions castaways on a remote island, fourteen-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a, learns new laws and customs as he becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2013-2014, 4-6 Nominee.

home-of-the-brave_1Home of the Brave – Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2009-2010, 6-8 Nominee.

im-new-here_1I’m New Here – Three children from other countries (Somalia, Guatemala, and Korea) struggle to adjust to their new home and school in the United States.

in-the-year-of-the-boar-and-jackie-robinsonIn the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson – In 1947, a Chinese child comes to Brooklyn where she becomes Americanized at school, in her apartment building, and by her love for baseball.

inside-out-and-back-again_2Inside Out and Back Again – Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2013-2014, 4-6 Nominee.

the-keeping-quilt_1The Keeping Quilt – A homemade quilt ties together the lives of four generations of an immigrant Jewish family, remaining a symbol of their enduring love and faith.

kira-kiraKira Kira – Chronicles the close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the despair when one sister becomes terminally ill. Newbery Medal Winner, 2005.

landed_1Landed – After leaving his village in southeastern China, twelve-year-old Sun is held at Angel Island, San Francisco, before being released to join his father, a merchant living in the area. Includes historical notes.

a-long-walk-to-water_2A Long Walk to Water – When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.

mariama-different-but-just-the-same_1Mariama Different But Just the Same – Everything’s new for Mariama after a long journey by car, train, boat, and plane from Africa. She’s going to discover a world where the streets, her school, and the food are all different. But what about the people?  Disponible en español: Mariama: Diferente Pero Igual

the-matchbox-diaryThe Matchbox Diary – An elderly man shares his story of coming to America with his great granddaughter. Since he did not know how to read or write when he was younger, he created a diary by keeping items inside matchboxes. Together, they open each one like you would a book and learn about where the man came from and his new life in the United States. Disponible en español: El Diario de las Cajas de Fósforos

miss-bridie-chose-a-shovel_1Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel Miss – Bridie emigrates to America in 1856 and chooses to bring a shovel, which proves to be a useful tool throughout her life.  Young Hoosier Book Award, 2007-2008, K-3 Nominee.

mollys-pilgrim_1Molly’s Pilgrim – Told to make a Pilgrim doll for the Thanksgiving display at school, Molly is embarrassed when her mother tries to help her out by creating a doll dressed as she herself was dressed before leaving Russia to seek religious freedom.

90-days-to-havana_190 Miles to Havana – When unrest hits the streets of Havana, Cuba, Julian’s parents must make the heartbreaking decision tosend him and his two brothers away to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation. But when the boys get to Miami, they are thrust into a world where bullies seem to run rampant and it’s not always clear how best to protect themselves.

the-red-pencil_1The Red Pencil – After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.

return-to-senderReturn to Sender – After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders.
Pura Belpré Award for narrative, 2010. Disponible en español: Devolver al Remitente

serafinas-promise_1Serafina’s Promise – In a poor village outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Serafina works hard to help her family, but dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor–then the earthquake hits and Serafina must summon all her courage to find her father and still get medicine for her sick baby brother as she promised. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee.

shooting-kabulShooting Kabul – Escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, eleven-year-old Fadi and his family immigrate to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fadi schemes to return to the Pakistani refugee camp where his little sister was accidentally left behind.

the-turtle-of-oman_1The Turtle of Oman – When Aref, a third-grader who lives in Muscat, Oman, refuses to pack his suitcase and prepare to move to Michigan, his mother asks for help from his grandfather, his Siddi, who takes Aref around the country, storing up memories he can carry with him to a new home.

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Scary Stories

Scary Stories

Are You Afraid Yet

Do you actually like being scared? Lots of kids do. Here are some books that will definitely give you goosebumps and want to sleep with your light on! You can read about actual haunted houses and reports of ghosts or read made up stories starring vampires, werewolves & ghosts. The websites have stories you can read online right now.



The Boy of a thousand Faces by Brian Selznick Obsessed with horror films, ten-year-old Alonzo dreams of transforming himself into “The Boy of aThousand Faces” and gets his wish in an unexpected way.
Bunnicula by James Howe Though scoffed at by Harold the dog, Chester the cat tries to warn his human family that their foundling baby bunny must be a vampire.
The Cold People The Cold People by Christopher Pike Adam and his friends are exploring the forest near Spooksville when they come across huge blocks of ice hidden among the trees. They decide to melt one, but when they do, a strange man comes out of the ice and tries to grab them. The man has very cold hands, and his eyes aren’t too warm either! Soon there are dozens of Cold People running around Spooksville freezing everyone. It seems like nothing can stop them. But Adam and his friends have an idea that just might save the day. More from theSpooksville Series
Coraline by Neil Gaiman Looking for excitement, Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others.
The Eyeball Collector by F.E. Higgins When a blackmail artist reveals a secret from the past, wealthy Hector Fitzbaudly ends up losing his social standing and fortune, prompting him to seek revenge on the man responsible for the act, the sinister Eyeball Collector.
The Ghost Eye Tree The Ghost-Eye Tree by Bill Martin One dark and windy autumn night when the sun has long gone down, a young boy and his older sister are sent to the end of town to get a bucket of milk. As they walk down the lonely road, bathed in eerie moonlight, all the boy can think about is the ghost-eye tree. Recommended by: Susan Barhan, Librarian – Southport Branch
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn In the nineteenth century, Florence Crutchfield leaves a London orphanage to live with her great-uncle, great-aunt, and sickly cousin James, but she soon realizes the home has another resident, who means to do her and James harm.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.
The Halloween Tree The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury A group of children and a “spirit” go back through time to discover the beginnings of Halloween.
Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor While working as summer employees in a local pizza parlor, three teenagers are recruited by an underground organization of monster hunters. Sequel: The Slice
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving A superstitious schoolmaster, in love with a wealthy farmer’s daughter, has a terrifying encounter with a headless horseman.
The Monster Book of Creature Features The Monster Book of Creature Features by Kirk Scroggs A mash-up of the first three books in the Wiley & Grampa’s Creature Features series finds Wiley and his goofy grandfather tackling numerous mythical creatures with the help of no-nonsense Gramma and a gang of neighborhood friends. Recommended by: Erin Webster, Librarian – Pike Branch
The Night Gardener The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.
A Nightware on Clown Street A Nightmare on Clown Steet by R.L. Stine Joining his uncle for a summer at the circus, Ray becomes a clown-in-training, but strange things start happening and he wonders about a place called “Clown Street” that even the other clowns are afraid to go to. More from the Goosebumps Series
Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney Young Tom, the seventh son of a seventh son, starts work as an apprentice for the village spook, whose job is to protect ordinary folk from “ghouls, boggarts, and all manner of wicked beasties.
Series: The Last Apprentice
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz This spooky book of American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright. There is a story here for everyone — skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney. Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even scary songs — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark. If you dare! Recommended by: Doriene Smither, Librarian East Washington Branch
More Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
The Seer of Shadows by Avi In New York City in 1872, fourteen-year-old Horace, a photographer’s apprentice, becomes entangled in a plot to create fraudulent spirit photographs, but when Horace accidentally frees the real ghost of a dead girl bent on revenge, his life takes a frightening turn.
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Roald Dahl Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering such wicked creatures as witches, along with kindly strangers and other helpful folk. Based in part on the Grimms’ fairy tales Faithful Johannes, Hansel and Gretel, The seven ravens, Brother and sister, The robber bridegroom, and The devil and his three golden hairs.
The View from the Cherry Tree The View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts Henrietta and her pals Gary and Rose all have headaches with an unknown cause and experience other strange incidents–including the appearance of a threatening creature called the Wikkeling–and are hopeful that an ancient bestiary can help solve these mysteries. Recommended by: Michelle Frost, Librarian – Southport Branch
Wait Til Helen Comes by Roald Dahl Heather likes to get her older stepbrother and stepsister into trouble. When the family moves to the country, Heather starts talking to a ghost named Helen. Heather’s strange behavior concerns her siblings, but when Helen the ghost actually appears, concern diminishes into fear.
The Wikkeling The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson Henrietta and her pals Gary and Rose all have headaches with an unknown cause and experience other strange incidents–including the appearance of a threatening creature called the Wikkeling–and are hopeful that an ancient bestiary can help solve these mysteries. Recommended by: Emilie Lynn, Librarian – East 38th Street Branch
The Witches by Roald Dahl A young boy and his Norwegian grandmother, who is an expert on witches, together foil a witches’ plot to destroy the world’s children by turning them into mice.
You Wouldnt Want to Meet a Body Snatcher You Wouldn’t Want to Meet a Body Snatcher: Criminals & Murderers You’d Rather Avoid by Fiona Macdonald Describes the incidents of body snatching and murder in Edinburgh in the nineteenth century, where criminals would commonly sell corpses to the medical community for dissection. Recommended by: Doriene Smither, Librarian – Each Washington Branch
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Happy National Chocolate Day!

Happy National Chocolate Day!

October 28th is National Chocolate Day, just in time for trick-or-treating! Here are all kind of mysteries and adventures featuring chocolately deliciousness and some non-fiction books to learn where chocolate actually comes from and who has developed the best recipes for this universally loved treat.



Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase The Candy Factory Mystery This Book Is Not Good For You
The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop Chocolate Fever The Chocolate Touch Max and Maddy and the Chocolate Money Mystery
Clara the Chocolate Fairy Cam Jansen and the Chocolate Fudge Mystery Chocolate Dreams The Chocolate Rose
Theo Stilton and the Chocolate Sabotage My Chocolate Year The Chocolate Phantom The Chocolate-Covered Contest


The Mars Family Blue Frog the Legend of Chocolate Holy Mole The Sweet Story of Hot Chocolate
From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate Choc Full of Chocolate Chocolate a Sweet History A Chocolate Bar
Beans to Chocolate Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory Candy Bomber Milton Hershey More Than Chocolate
Who Was Milton Hershey Milton Hershey Milton Hershey 2 The Chocolate Chip Cookie Queen

Recommended by: Janet Spaulding, Selection Services

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Staff Pick: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Staff Pick: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

A witty and suspenseful tale of a brutal governess and the three brave young souls under her care–Bonnie, Sylvia, and Simon–who together must save the Willoughby estate from the destructive effects of her terrible reign.

When I picked up The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, I knew it had been around a long time, but I thought I would give an “oldie” a chance . . . 12 books later, I’m ready to recommend these titles by Joan Aiken to anyone who loves wicked mean bad guys, occasional witches, (both good and bad) solid and true underdogs, and tales of adventure with suspense and . . . well, yes, occasionally there are gruesome parts when the bad guys seem to be getting ahead.

Set in London in a period in the early 19th Century during the fictional reign of King James III before cars and airplanes, the characters travel by carriage, ship, and on foot to realistically imagined locations speaking in dialects that reflect social classes in England and surrounding countries. Dido, Simon, and the other characters in this series are often witty in the gritty and absurd situations that occur in their lives. Like The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, or Peter and the Starcatchers, these books will grab you and keep you up reading at night long after your bed time.

IndyPL has these titles in audio CD, eAudio, eBook, paper and hardcover book formats. On a side note, The Whispering Mountain is considered #0 in the series.

Recommended by: Raylene Jordan – The Learning Curve @Central Library

More Staff Picks

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Native Americans

Native Americans


Non-Fiction Books:

Black Indians Native American Heroes Looks Like Daylight Native American Tribes
Buckskin Dresses First People Hands On History Native Americans Children of the Tipi
A Native American Thought Of It Native American Mythology Native American Culture A Day in the Life of a Native American
Native Americans Native Americans a Visual Exploration Tecumsah The World of North American Indians
Before Columbus Exploring the Life Myth and Art of Native Americans Kids Guide to Native American History Native American Art
Native American History for Kids

Fiction Books:

The Birchbark House Buffalo Bird Girl Crossing Bok Chitto Ghost Hawk
The Legend of Lighning and Thunder The Man Who Dressed As Elk Dogs Paiute Princess The Porcupine Year
Return to Hawk's Hill The Story of Jumping Mouse The Woman Who Lived With the Wolves

Indiana Books & Websites:

The Miami, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Mascoutens, Delaware (Lenape), Shawnee were some of the Native Americans that lived in Indiana before settlers came here. One of the most well-known Native Americans from Indiana is the Miami Chief, Little Turtle. The websites and books below will help you learn more about Native Americans all over country, especially those who lived in Indiana.

The Miamis Salt
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