Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available for free download from Thursday through Wednesday, you can listen them on your phone or device any time as long as you keep them on your Sora shelf (FAQs here).
Her mother says neighbors are wrong about her late father’s amazing abilities, the school bullies steal her tiny lunch every single day, the local stray dogs are talking to her – and she finds a special stone that makes her feel giddy with joy!
Someone else wants that stone’s power, the full power of all its pieces that Nolitye is finding….
Published after the author’s early death, this tale of myth, reality, folklore, and family is worth requesting at your local library or indie bookstore – if they don’t have it, they can get it for you!
What would you wish, holding this hidden star? **kmm
Book info: The Hidden Star / K. Sello Duiker. Cassava Republic Press, 2017. [author obituary] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Math is easy, avoiding the school bullies isn’t, but young Nolitye and her best friends are called on a difficult quest to save their South African neighborhood from an evil wizard’s control.
The lovely stone that Nolitye finds gives her such happiness. Then a mysterious woman stops time to tell her its secrets and that the eleven year old must collect its missing pieces before the wizard can gather them!
The stray dogs warn Nolitye to stay indoors one night – do they know who is stealing away children from their Soweto township?
Why does only Nolitye see that Ma Mtonga’s necklace is a living snake?
Can Nolitye, Bheki, and Four Eyes find all the pieces of the stone and stop the evil ones?
Her mother’s behavior suddenly changes, the neighbours think the mythical Zim may be the kidnapper, but only Nolitye and her friends know the truth!
His late father’s voice lends advice,
His late mother’s spirit appears in silence.
Can he honor his promise to keep the family together?
No social safety nets in Mor’s Senegal village, just fishing nets, small boats, and the gang of bullies who ran away from home and threaten to steal any food he is given or money the 11-year-old can earn for his sisters’ schooling.
When resources are scarce, how can you be resourceful?
Book info: One Shadow on the Wall / Leah Henderson. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017 hardcover, 2018 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Guided by his parents’ spirits, eleven-year-old Mor strives to keep his family together, braving bullies, the sea’s perils, and well-meaning neighbors in their Senegalese fishing village – will it be enough?
So little food left when they are orphaned – how to feed his sisters?
Men also seek work – who will hire a young boy?
His brilliant sister’s school fees are due – can he stop the bully gang from stealing what he can earn?
When his former best friend tells Mor that joining the gang is the only way to keep his sisters safe, he must make a hard choice and live with its consequences.
Able to make water where there is none!
Generations after the Devastation of chemical and biological weapons nearly wiped out life on Earth, mutations may be nature’s way of keeping humanity around, perhaps to save the very last tree in the whole world, hidden where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers once flowed.
Look for the first book in the series, Dry Souls (my no-spoiler review here), to visit Kira’s world as she first discovers her affinity for water in this parched future Earth.
How far would you go for friendship?
Book info: The Last Tree (Dry Souls, book 2) / Denise Getson. CBAY Books, 2016. [author’s Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Kira isn’t sure how she can call water through solid rock into places where it once flowed, but the United Territory Council government will stop at nothing to capture her and find out how she can bring forth water when all land is desert.
The teen must stay free so she, Tuck, and J.D. can rescue friend Tamara and continue their stealthy mission to get Kira near old lakebeds to call their waters back.
When she is asked to help a special tree, how can Kira say no?
Is this last tree in the entire world truly the Tree of Knowledge?
But how can she keep her family of friends safe from the UTC?
Kira’s adventures in the dry and toxic world introduced in Dry Souls, book one of the series, continue as she jumps across the world from danger into world-altering risks.
My book talk: In the war-torn streets of Mogadishu, Samia loses her childhood friend and running coach to extremist gangs, perseveres as a athlete dreaming of running in the Olympics, and keeps traveling toward freedom, regardless of the dangers.
From the age of 10, Samia ran with the 2008 Olympics as her goal, inspired by refugee and world-class runner Mo Farah, coached by her best friend Ali, winning race after race in their Somalian city.
As rival militias recruited all young men into their religious factions, Ali left Samia’s neighborhood. Still she ran, gaining the attention of Somalia’s small Olympic Committee and earning a spot at the 2008 Beijing Games as a teen. How proud she was to represent her homeland!
But militia fighters wouldn’t let her practice when she returned to Mogadishu.
Time to take “the journey” as her sister had – through the desert, across the Mediterranean, to Europe – as Mo Farah had – to a place with enough to eat and running shoes that fit and freedom to run…
Based on the true story of Samia Yusuf Omar, who grew up with constant war as an “older sister” and ran anyway.
From Mandela’s 1964 trial to conversations during his life sentence in prison to his inauguration as President of South Africa in 1994, interviews, music, and radio broadcasts are woven into a stunning narrative of this lifelong crusader against apartheid.
Onkonkwo is becoming a most respected man in his African village, erasing the shame of his father, but incoming Christian missionaries cause conflicts with tradition, threatening his family, neighbors, and happiness.
These stories of struggle and justice – how do you respond?
Twylla’s touch kills, so the royal family uses her as executioner. Now the 16 year old must decide whether to be a deadly tool in the Queen’s audacious plan or to follow the possibility of love that can only end in death.
Their mothers were closer than sisters.
They are sister and brother against the world,
and the world has turned its back on Ethiopia…
What do you know about the Second Italo-Abyssinian War? I knew nothing of this conflict which preceded World War II, but have learned that the League of Nations ignored the pleas of Ethiopia’s emperor to stop the 1935 invasion of the only African nation never ruled by Europeans…
Just published on March 31, this story of the flight-loving children of two aviation-daredevil women – one white, one black – connects World War I France with still-prejudiced USA with becoming-modern Ethiopia, as told through the school essays and journal entries of Emilia and Teo over the years.
The author counts Black Dove, White Raven as part of her Young Pilots series, along with the incredible Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire (check out the fascinating variations in cover art as published in other countries).
What books about young people in wartime would you recommend? Share in the comments, please!
Book info: Black Dove, White Raven / Elizabeth Wein. Hyperion Books, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.
My book talk: With war edging nearer Ethiopia in 1935, an American aviatrix tries to help her adopted country and placate enemy forces while keeping her daughter Emilia and black foster son Teo safe – but some troubles cannot be flown away from.
Retired from stunt flying as ‘White Raven’ when her partner and best friend Delia ‘the Black Dove’ was killed, Momma eventually moves to Ethiopia as the pair had planned, bringing her white daughter and Delia’s half-Ethiopian son in 1930 to the only African nation never conquered by Europeans.
Seeing Emperor Haile Selassie crowned, meeting Teo’s uncles, living in a rural settlement and learning to speak Amharic – Em and Teo enjoy life with Momma, until the true price of the plane given to them by Em’s Italian aviator father is revealed.
Will old secrets send Teo to the battle lines?
Can Momma take reconnaissance photos for Italy and Ethiopia at the same time?
Will Em ever get comfortable with landing the plane?
Warriors with spears against machine guns, the League of Nations turning a deaf ear to Ethiopia’s calls for help, new calendar masking old laws. “Spiderwebs joined together can catch a lion” goes the Ethiopian proverb, but what a fragile thing to carry all the country’s hopes for peace. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
Trapped for decades,
she awakens hungry,
Every time ancient Zilombo is reborn, the monster from deep in an African lake has new and frightening powers that help her hunt – this time in England!
Try out three chapters for free here and you’ll be hooked as Jin, Frankie, and Mizz Z go after The Monster in the Mudball along the Oozeburn River’s littered shores.
Do you hear the shivery jangle of a bottle cap anklet… or is it just me?
Book info: Monster in the Mudball (An Artifact Inspector Book) / S. P. Gates. Tu Books, 2013. [author biography] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: A baby, a monster older than the world, and a mysterious inspector – Jin and Frankie need the last one to help them rescue the first one from the middle one, before Zilombo eats him!
No one would expect that dusty old ball of mud contained an African monster which would gladly eat anything, especially when the mudball had been high on a shelf in a small British house for 20 years. How the dried dirt became mud again, hatched out its oversize feet and huge-clawed hands, escaped from its exile just before the Inspector of Ancient Artifacts arrived on her annual inspection… Jin knows, and Mizz Z the inspector knows that his baby brother is in great danger if this Zilombo monster isn’t caught – soon!
After such a long imprisonment, ancient Zilombo needs food and a hiding place, so she runs toward the scent of water, finding a secret spot near the river and sniffing for the delicious scent of that Smiler baby – oh, how she will enjoy eating it!
Jin and Mizz Z are on Zilombo’s trail, recruiting big sister Frankie along the way, but they may be too late, as baby Smiler chooses this night to take his first steps at Grandma and Grandad Tang’s riverside house.
Why does Mizz Z know so much about this ancient monster?
What new powers does Zilombo have in her newest form?
Can Jin and Frankie really save their baby brother?
Wild adventure along the muddy banks of the deceptively calm Oozeburn River as Jin, Frankie, and Mizz Z try to recapture the monster with her jangling ankle bracelet of soda bottle caps before she strikes again. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
In 1967, Tanzania was still “becoming” a single country after the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar following their recent independence from European powers. President Nyerere asked all his people and tribes to work together as one. Sometimes this meant moving from small poor villages into larger villages to have schools and medical care.
Ask for this April 2013 paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore, and travel in its pages to discover how Shida and her family cope with big changes in those early years of Tanzania.
When has moving to a new place helped you grow?
Book info: A Girl Called Problem / Katie Quirk. Eerdmans, 2013. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: A new start sounds good to Shida, as Tanzania becomes a unified country in 1967, but can the 13 year old and the other villagers truly find a better life in their new town?
So many problems in her life – mama depressed and thought to be a witch, a curse tied to their family, even Shida’s name means ‘problem’ in Swahili, her only gift from her late father’s family. She learns about healing herbs from the village grandmothers and helps families with small illnesses – why can’t the village elders see that she should become a true healer, instead of just planning to be married?
To become a strong new African nation, the people need schools and health care, so the president asks those in small villages to move and form towns. Move from Litongo? Each family will have a new hut with tin roof and a plot for growing food. All the children will go to school, even the girls!
The president’s promises are true – new huts, plots of land, a school, and a clinic! But some already living in Njia Panda don’t want more people in their town, and many traditional men think that girls shouldn’t be in school, including their teacher! Odd things begin to happen in the Litongo part of town – cattle wander from the thornbush corral, clothing goes missing (Mama Shida is sure it’s another curse).
Can Shida and her cousins convince their teacher that girls belong at school?
Can Shida care for her mama and have time to work with the clinic nurse, too?
Can she solve the mysterious things happening to her neighbors?
A full and vibrant slice of life in the early days of Tanzania, A Girl Called Problem tries to outrun her own name and find a way for the Litongo villagers to truly become part of the town and their country’s future. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
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