In the middle grade historical novel in poetry May B. by Caroline Rose (to be published January 2012 by Swartz and Wade), young Mavis Betterley, called May, has been sent away from home for the first time, assigned to be a helper for one of her rural Kansas farm neighbors for six months. Despite her

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In The Girl Who Owned a City (first published 1975, reissued 1995), O.T. Nelson creates an entirely unbelievable post-apocalyptic scenario for middle-grade readers. In the past month, the world population of adults has died of a rapidly spreading plague. All that remains in ten-year-old Lisa’s immediate world are other children, all under the age of

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Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (published 2006) tells the story of the Nigerian Civil War, when the minority, repressed Igbos in Southeastern Nigeria established the independent republic of Biafra. My understanding of the war comes from my reading of the novel, but I did also reference Wikipedia. (Adichie mentions in an

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According to the tradition of the Dinka, the people who live in southern Sudan, after God created the world and the first man (a Dinka), he gave the first man a choice. “You can have either these cattle, as my gift to you, or you can have the What,” he said. The Dinka chose the

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Last year, I read Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, and I really enjoyed it. I suggested it to my book club, and I was delighted it when it was selected as this month’s read! I reread it last week and searched for some discussion questions online. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any!

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