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 Black Alabaster Box
The Last Crystal Trilogy, book 1
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 Black 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.
The Red Abalone Shell
The Last Crystal Trilogy, book 2
by Frances Schoonmaker
James finds himself on the steps of a church with no idea who he is or how he got there. His only clues are a map, a red abalone shell, and a dog, Old Shep. Adopted by a German-American pacifist family, James and Old Shep take to life on a farm. Patriotism is running high in Western Oklahoma as the United States considers entering World War I. James and his family are proud to be Americans, but not everybody sees it that way, especially Claude Higgins. Claude bullies James unmercifully in and out of school. As James tries to stand up to Claude without fighting him and struggles to regain lost memories, he discovers that his identity is linked to mysterious, magical events that define both his past and his future.
Of Love and Death: Young Holocaust Survivors’ Passage to Freedom
by Miriam Segal Shnycer
September 1, 1939, bombs thunder across Krakow, Poland. Three families are trapped in the horror of Germany’s invasion. Only five young people out of fourteen members survive the Holocaust.
Did inclusion on the coveted Schindler’s List ensure escape from danger? Did a family member’s dealings with Amon Goeth, the monster of Plaszow, keep them alive or lead to murder? Did clinging to a lifeline as tenuous as a pole in a latrine prevent capture? Of Love and Death: Young Holocaust Survivors’ Passage to Freedom answers these questions and more.
All events are true in this creative nonfiction book. Five storytellers chronicle the lives of these families as they remember the halcyon days of their youth and see them ripped apart by the genocide. Amidst all this misery is a blossoming love story.
by Nikki MacCallum
Dry Run is a story of human transformation from confusion, despair, and brokenness to wholeness, healing, and the beginnings of self-love and acceptance, paralleling a physical progression through self-doubt, exhaustion, power and persistence. Consisting of 26.2 chapters, Dry Run is coming of age memoir that compares the challenges of running a marathon with the struggles of growing up as an only child with an alcoholic parent. Both of my parents were long-distance runners. My mom ran five marathons and my father’s total was thirty-two which included him doing Boston in two hours and forty-two minutes. I guess you could say running (and carb loading) is in my blood.
Since my father was such a high functioning marathoner, his depression went undetected, and after twenty years of battling alcoholism, he suffered a near death relapse. Though I wasn’t particularly thrilled about my decision to run 26.2 miles, it was the only thing I could think to do as a Hail Mary pass to save my father. He’d been in detox and hospitalized over ten times. I didn’t know how else to communicate with him, and I knew that such a huge feat—a feat that was important to him and dear to his own heart—would get his attention.
THE LAST CRYSTAL
The Last Crystal Trilogy, book 3
by Frances Schoonmaker
When their father is critically wounded in World War II, the four Harrison children take the famous Santa Fe Chief to stay with an uncle in California. Worried about their father and less than enthusiastic about a summer with their boring uncle, the four soon discover that this is no ordinary train trip. In rushing to get off of the train, a passenger whom they have barely met asks them to deliver a message to someone they will meet at one of the train stops–a message critical to the allied effort. Then, by accident, they blunder into a private car where they meet the beautiful and mysterious Celeste. She shows an usual interest in the youngest, Grace. When the train breaks down in the desert, Celeste lures them to her car. Her plans become clear. She wants to send Grace on a quest to find a crystal holding water from the beginning of time, water set aside for the healing of the earth. Celeste says it will heal their father, but they suspect that she wants it for herself. In trying to escape her, they leap from the train only to discover themselves in the prehistoric West. Their only hope of return is to find the crystal. But to do so, they have to cross thousands of miles of wilderness. They have nothing but each other, their wits, and a map than only Grace can read.