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September 12, 2004 Edition

Fish, by L.S. Matthews

First the country was dusty and brown with drought; now that rain has come, it is muddy and brown. Tiger’s parents, aide workers from a wealthier country, stay as long as they can, but war is moving towards the village they work in and the family is ordered to evacuate. On the last day, Tiger finds a fish in a muddy puddle that used to be a pond and decides to evacuate it, too. Marching along with a fish in a pot isn’t easy, but once the trip has begun, it is impossible to think of abandoning Fish. (chapter book)

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, by Rumer Godden

This story of a quiet and lonely little girl who finds herself in the midst of a noisy and rambunctious family is a reprinted classic and one of my favorites. Nona Fells has arrived in England from India and is miserable and determined to stay so. The traffic and her loud cousins scare her, the food is unfamiliar, the clothes she owns are all wrong. Then, a gift from a distant relative arrives: two Japanese dolls, and in her determination to create a comfortable and familiar home for them, Nona finds that she’s created one for herself. (chapter book)

Toad Rage, by Morris Gleitzman

Australia is a cane toad’s paradise: plenty to eat, lots of relatives - but watch out for those humans! Limpy is the only one in his family who believes that humans hate cane toads - he’s seen the looks and heard the comments. But, deep in his warty little heart, he believes that if only humans got to know cane toads, they’d find that Limpy and his friends and family are lovable. So, daring cars and big boots, he sets out to bridge the human-toad gap. (chapter book)

Tending to Grace, by Kimberly Newton Fusco

A modern fairytale: Cornelia is her mother’s strength; she tempts her out of bed with waffles and coffee, makes sure there is real food in the house, and spends the rest of her time reading classics secretly. In school, Cornelia is invisible, in the slow class and getting slower, quiet and getting quieter. When her mother drops her off “for a little while” with an aunt Cornelia has never heard of before in order to run off to Las Vegas with her boyfriend, all Cornelia can do is wait for her return. Aunt Agatha sure doesn’t need anyone to help her get things together. But maybe she can help Cornelia… (young adult)

A Heart Divided, by Cherie Bennett

The move from New York City to a town outside Nashville goes exactly as well as Kate anticipated: that is to say, not well at all. She misses her friends, is devastated by losing a place in a prestigious writing workshop, and dismayed by the confederate flags she sees everywhere. But, she doesn’t have to share a bedroom with her sister and she soon meets a gorgeous guy who makes her feel like the only girl around. She still is offended by the confederate flag that forms her school insignia, and when a petition comes up to replace it with something more PC, Kate jumps in with both feet, and she and Jack find themselves on opposite sides of the issue and rapidly heading towards enemy status. (young adult)

An Earthly Knight, by Janet McNaughton

Legend and history are interwoven to tell the story of 16-year-old Jenny and Tam Lin. The year is 1162, and since Jenny’s older sister Isabel has disgraced the family by running away with a knight, it is up to Jenny to save the family honor by marrying well. She despises her fiancé, William, the brother of the King of Scotland, and finds herself falling in love with the mysterious Tam Lin. Is it true that his odd behavior is because he's under a fairy curse? And, if Tam Lin is enchanted, can Jenny save him? (young adult)

Contents Under Pressure, by Lara M. Zeiss

Lucy worries that she’s a loser because her favorite brother doesn’t have any time for her anymore, all her girlfriends have boyfriends now, and her own achievements in that department are woefully lacking. But freshman year holds some big changes: she catches the eye of Tobin Scacheri, the heart-throb of junior year and her brother moves home from college with his unlikable girlfriend and a big surprise. Surviving her freshman year is going to take a lot of growing up. (young adult)

Naked Without a Hat, by Jeanne Willis

19-year-old Will’s luck changes when he moves into a flat with roommates Chrissy, James, and Rocko. Instead of hearing his mom nag him about his lucky knit hat, he finds that he shares a hat passion with Rocko, who’s got a Stetson. He can play his guitar any time he wants. He’s got a job, and suddenly, a girlfriend. The only thing that doesn’t change is his secret… (young adult)

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