Lost and Found Cat - The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey

Sura and her family, , like many in Iraq and other war torn countries, could no longer stay in Mosul. It had become too dangerous. Sura, a single parent since her husband had died needed to take her family somewhere more safe. They had to leave, joining the millions of other refugees hoping for a better life somewhere else.  Sura and her children  had to leave most of their possessions behind when they left Mosul, but they were not leaving their beloved cat, Kunkush. They packed him away secretly for the long and frightening journey with them to Greece. When they finally landed on the island of Lesbos, a terrified Kunkush ran off into the forest.  With the help of kind and compassionate volunteers, Kunkush was reunited with his family. This is the story of the plight of refugees, but also of people’s choice to help other people (and their pet’s to find a better life).

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Lydia McClanahan
Indian Shoes

Ray Halfmoon and his Grampa Halfmoon, who has raised him since his parents were killed in an accident, are very close.  They both love baseball, animals, and Indian Shoes (the high-top sneaker kind and the moccasin kind). They shop, fish, solve problems together and support one another.

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Lydia McClanahan
As Brave as You

Genie, who spends a lot of time on Google,  and his “too cool” big brother Ernie, are Brooklyn kids. When their parents drop them off at their grandparents rural Virginia home, so that they can go and work on their marriage in Jamaica, the brothers don’t know what to expect. They had no idea they would be picking peas, scooping poop, or living without a computer in the hot Virginia sun. Genie finds plenty of questions to write in his notebook and Ernie finds a cute girl to try and impress.

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Lydia McClanahan
Stef Soto, Taco Queen

Estefania “Stef” Soto  is a typical middle school girl who just wants to be like any other 7th grader, but her overprotective immigrant parents have old school ideas about her freedom. Stef loves them, and appreciates how hard they work trying to build a life and provide for her, but they are a bit old fashioned and sometimes embarrassing.  While she loves the respite of her father’s taco truck affectionately called Tia Perla, she hates being told she smells like tacos by her former best friend Julia. When her parent’s business is threatened however, Stef’s eye-rolls and impatience become a spirited championing of her families business, values and heritage.

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Lydia McClanahan
The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

Violet Diamond, or ‘V’ as her family calls her has a pretty good life in Moon Lake, Washington. She’s got a mom who loves her a lot, loving attentive grandparents, a beautiful, fun big sister Daisy(even if she is spending more and more time with her boyfriend) and 2 great besties Taz and Athena. Yes, Violet’s got it pretty good, but she can’t help wishing, one, to know the dad she never met, and two,  that some people wouldn’t be so stupid with their stares and questions, when she is with her family. You see, Violet’s mom, sister, Gam and Poppy are white with long, straight hair, and Violet is brown with corkscrew ringlets. She is a biracial girl, living in an all white Washington suburb feeling odd and incomplete.

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Lydia McClanahan
Niño Wrestles the World

Yuyi Morales brings to life the vibrant  world of  Lucha Libre through the imagination of Niño, the boy luchador hero! Niño is skilled at somersaults, eating popsicles and playing with his baby sisters. His wrestling moves however, are most superb and help him to defeat, La Momia de Guanajuato, La Llorona, Cabeza Olmeca,  El Extraterrestre and El Chamuco, his other worldly opponents.  The wrestling match layout, complete with the onomatopoeia  of Niño’s skilled moves helps to create the energy  of an actual Lucha Libre match.

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Lydia McClanahan
Freakboy

Brendan Chase isn’t sure what is going on in his mind, or body. Besides his annoying stepfather, (who his mom left his dad for), home is not terrible. He has wrestling,  his wonderful girlfriend Vanessa, and his little sister who he adores.  From the outside, everything seems great. On the inside however, Brendan is struggling. He is great at wrestling, but at the same time he is envious of the way girls wear their hair, and the bright purple and pink that they “strut across the yard”. He likes girls, but he wants to be a girl? Is he gay or just a freak?

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Lydia McClanahan
Ghost

Ghost has had some troubles in life, and he is running from them. First, he had to run from an abusive father that chased him and his mother down the street with a loaded gun. After that, Ghost caused his own problems, mostly at his middle school,  trying to escape the memories of his past. When he stumbles upon the Elite track he finds a way to put his running ability to good use. Ghost just doesn’t know if he is quick enough to leave his past behind him to try for a new start. With the help of a track coach, who knows as much about adversity as he does about running, Ghost might have a chance.

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Amina's Voice

Amina is a Pakistani-American Muslim girl  who has always been happy in her midwest surburban life, surrounded by family, friends and a strong community. Suddenly she is faced with the changes of  adolescence, that lead her to question her identity.  She is not prepared for the uncertainty that middle school brings,  like when her best friend begins to hang out with one of the “popular” girls, or when she has to face her fears of performing in front of an audience.  She soon finds out that growing up brings more realities to deal with, like when her family’s mosque is the target of a hate crime.

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Lydia McClanahan
The Hate U Give

16 year old Starr Carter is doing her best to live between two worlds.  She reveals only parts of herself in the poor urban neighborhood where she lives, and the suburban, very white prep school she attends. Her struggle to be true to “both” Starr’s,  is  destroyed when she witnesses the murder of her unarmed, childhood friend, Kahlil, by the police.  Besides being traumatized, by the incident and the loss, Starr is then thrust into the realities and struggles of her poor community, as well as  the expectations and bias of friends, family and society.

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