A Boy Named Trout
In 1976, in the fields of Northern New Mexico’s scrub grass and coyote fences, a twelve-year old boy named Trout searches for integrity in an increasingly volatile family that is free of moral inhibition. Trout takes it upon himself to protect his mute younger sister, Heaven, and seek out a better life for the two of them. All the while, he must avoid abusive anger of his parents.
I Am Terezin
I Am Terezin is a memoir unlike any other, written as a gripping narrative in the voice of the concentration camp itself.
Situated in Czechoslovakia, Theresienstadt, or Terezin, as the locals called it, was touted by the Germans as a model city where Jews could live their lives in tranquility. Despite the sheer audacity of the claim, the world chose to believe this and ignore the truth looming behind the granite walls encircling the fortress-town.
In I Am Terezin, the collective voice of its 140,000 inmates reveals the true story of the camp, imploring that we must look past all deceptive facades shrouding human suffering.
The Alabaster Box
by Frances Schoonmaker
Westward ho! It had been quiet along the Santa Fe Trail for more than a year when the Stokes Company set out for California in the early 1840s, the Willis family among them. A reluctant traveler, twelve-year-old Grace Willis longs for her comfortable, safe, and privileged life at home. Just as she is learning to negotiate life on the trail, Grace is kidnapped by fellow travelers and taken into Oklahoma Territory. She must decide if she will cave in to despair or muster the courage to run away and search for her parents. Grace finds help in unlikely places. She discovers that there really is such a thing as magic and there are some things only a child can do.
The Alabaster Box is an historical fantasy about growing up and facing terrible circumstances without being overcome by them. Grace learns to face her fears with courage, and that even magic can’t rescue her from the consequences of her choices. Written for middle grade children, the book is one the whole family can enjoy together. Grace’s experiences can provide a springboard for talking about grief and loss as well as the wonderful, funny, and magical adventures life has to offer. The setting and attention to historical accuracy make it an ideal read-aloud for the schoolroom where children are studying the great migration West.