Horace is apprenticed to a photographer and is disappointed to find out that part of his job is tricking people into believing ghosts are appearing in their family photographs. His disappointment turns to fear, however, when the image of a dead girl DOES appear in one of his photos. She’s back, and she’s NOT in a good mood. You might want to read this one in the daytime, yes, that’s it, in the daytime. Or maybe with the lights on. Or how about this advice…read this one when you are not alone. As the author Avi says, this story is about shadows, both visible and invisible, that are always lurking near. Oh, man, deliciously spooky from an all-time favorite storyteller. Author: Avi
If you like Sherlock Holmes, you will be excited by this Canadian author’s exploration of Holmes’s life as a 12-year old. It is 1867 in London. A terrible murder has been committed and an Arab immigrant has been arrested for it. Young Sherlock Holmes, with his odd ways, gets sucked into the mystery and is accused of being an accomplice. He must find the real killer or face the gallows himself. In this tense and well-written mystery, we meet Holmes’s parents and understand the circumstances of racism (Sherlock is half-Jewish) and poverty that led him to be the moody, brilliant detective he became as an adult. We also meet the younger versions of the mysterious Professor Moriarity and even Irene Adler (the only woman Sherlock Holmes ever loved). An attention-grabbing and creative book. Author: Shane Peacock
This 550 page novel has a big surprise once you open it…the fact that many of the pages are pictures! It’s a little bit like reading, and then turning the pages like a little movie, and then reading some more. The pictures are drawn from interesting angles and perspectives and are as much fun as the story. It is not a pictures book, but an illustrated novel, like a comic book or graphic novel.
12 year-old Hugo is an orphan living in a train station in Paris, but he doesn’t live out in the bustle of the station, he lives in the walls! Hugo is an appretice to the clock keeper, who happens to be Hugo’s uncle, but the uncle has disappeared leaving Hugo to tend the clocks. Afraid of being discovered, Hugo continues to do his uncle’s job collecting his uncle’s paychecks, even though he can’t cash them. Hugo scavenges for food and sometimes has to steal. Hugo has a big job just to survive alone, but in his free time, Hugo enjoys working on a project begun by his father. He tinkers with a mechanical man, called an automaton (a robot), trying to get it to work. The small mechanical parts of the automaton are like the parts in the clock…each piece fitting with the next piece to make the machine work correctly. Hugo’s life is like one of these mechanical pieces… he just doesn’t know where his piece fits with the next…until he meets a girl and a crotchety toy shop owner…then the pieces of his life begin to fit together. Author & Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Eleven year-old Elijah lives in Buxton, Canada in the 1850s. Buxton is a town made up entirely of runaway slaves that have escaped from America on the Underground Railroad. Elijah’s parents are former slaves, but Elijah himself was born free in Buxton. He leads a school boy’s life keeping up with his lessons and doing chores alongside Mr. Leroy, a community handy man who is working hard to save up enough money to buy his family’s freedom. Elijah is well known in his town for being sensitive, quiet and easily moved to tears.
A devastating turn of events brings Elijah face to face with the fear and horror experienced by his parents and the former slaves in his town. A sneaky preacher steals Mr. Leroy’s money, and his dream of being reunited with his family. Elijah sets off after the thief in a desperate attempt to recover the money. The chase brings Elijah to America and the constant threat of being captured by slave bounty hunters. In one memorable scene Elijah stumbles across a group of slaves who have been re-captured. Shackled together in a barn the group is starving and thirsty. One of the slaves holds a baby out to him. Should he take the baby and run, or try to rescue the group? It is one of many heart wrenching scenes that shows the horrors of slavery. Elijah proves that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared, being brave means that even when you are scared out of your mind, you do what needs done anyway. Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
This book is not for the faint of heart. It is a revealing look at the Civil War from the perspective of a feisty young Southern girl. The author says that she was interested in writing about the Civil War and not “prettifying” it. There isn’t a single pretty thing about the war in this book, but at the same time, it is filled with people to care about who are caught up in one of the most defining moments in our country’s history.
When the Civil War begins India Moody’s school closes and she is sent to a neighbor for tutoring. A natural scientist, India studies biology and chemistry rather than the Bible and handwriting like other young girls of her time, despite the fact that her book learning might make her “a spinster fit for no man.” There is a college in Ohio that accepts women and India is determined to go there, an impossible dream for a girl in the 1860s, even without a war.
While her father is off fighting, India and her mother are forced out of their home as the Union Army approaches. India’s studies come to an end as she takes on the work of women in wartime; helping to nurse the wounded, comforting the grieving, and always, always, looking for food. While helping tend the wounded, India’s dedication to the confederate cause and to science are put to the test. She has a front row seat for truly horrifying medical procedures without anesthesia or antiseptics on boys, both Union and Confederate, that bleed the same kind of blood and carry pictures of loved ones in their pockets.
As India makes her way to an uncertain future with her characteristic determination, she finds that her world is not as black and white as she once thought, and that her dreams, even for a girl, just might be possible. Author: Rosemary Wells