Hazel and Jack were best friends until one snowy day in winter. "It was the sort of snowfall that, if there were any magic to be had in the world, would make it come out. And magic did come out. But not the kind you were expecting." Suddenly Jack starts acting strange and stops being friends with Hazel. Her mother says that these things happen sometimes and to make new friends, but Hazel knows that something is wrong. Then one day, Jack disappears entirely and no one even seems to notice. Hazel has read about this sort of thing in books, she knows what to do and may be the only one who can save Jack, so what choice does she have? She packs her supplies and sets off into the icy heart of winter.
This re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" makes the perfect winter reading. For more information, including an discussion guide, reviews, and a sample chapter, visit the author's website: http://www.anneursu.com/books/bk_breadcrumbs.html
Before Joan moved to California she only read stories. After she moved to California, Joan began to live them. It all started when she was exploring in the woods near her house and she found what looked like a troll's living room. It turned out that it belonged to a girl named Sarah who called herself the Queen of Foxes. Joan soon became newt in turn and newt and fox explored secret grottoes, defended their fort from invaders, and hid in the woods. Their real life mixed with a fantasy life and they turned their story in to a writing competition. But eventually they had to return to reality, and the cold hard truths they could not avoid.
This novel captures the feel of long days and warm nights spent playing outside for those who would rather escape to the warm summer months this winter. This novel, set in the early 70's has a lot of local color and the wild girls make several trips to Berkeley. This book doubles as a guide to writing for those who would like to write their own stories. Read more at the author's website: http://www.brazenhussies.net/murphy/Index-WildGirls.html
"Akata Witch!" Sunny was used to the taunt, but that didn't make it sting any less. As an albino who spent the first nine years of her life in America, Sunny was used to not fitting in with her Nigerian classmates, but she had no idea how different she was until she saw the end of the world in a candle's flame and discovered that she really did have magical powers. In Nigeria, those with magical abilities are called Leopard People and at first Sunny doesn't know what to make of their world. Among Leopard People what sets you apart is what gives you strength and because Sunny is so different she is also very powerful. At first her abilities and the new world they show her are thrilling, but before long she realizes that with her powers come a price and for every benefit the Leopard People have to offer there is a hidden danger lurking as well.
This imaginative novel mixes the modern and the ancient into a fantasy unlike any I've ever read before. In the world Okorafor creates what makes you different is what gives you power and you earn money through learning--making the head librarian one of the most powerful people in town. Now that's some world-building I can get behind! The novel is best summed up by the sentence "Sunny couldn't stop grinning. Life was getting weirder and weirder. But this weirdness she really liked." Read more at the author's site: http://nnedi.com/sunny.html
Doug Swieteck once played catch with Joe Pepitone of the New York Yankees and he gave him his signed baseball cap. It was the first thing Doug ever owned that didn't belong to another Swieteck before him, and like most good things, it didn't last. His brother took his cap and his father lost his temper and his job and now they have to move to stupid Marysville where everyone looks at him like he doesn't belong. But Marysville isn't all bad. There's Lil Spicer who can burp louder than anyone he's ever heard, and the library has these Audubon prints on display with birds that look like they're about to fly off the page. But the town needs money and the prints are being sold off and just when his life starts going okay things get messed up again. Still, maybe Doug can put the prints back in the book where they belong and pick up the pieces of his own life. His science teacher says that man is about to walk on the moon--if that's possible then who knows what other impossible things may come true.
Things start off bad for Doug Swieteck, and then they get worse. Doug's mood and his life are a perfect match for the dark winter months, but just when things look bleakest in Doug's life, a light begins to shine again reminding him, and the reader, that happiness and springtime are not lost forever and will soon return. Read more at the author's website: http://www.hmhbooks.com/schmidt/