DECEMBER: The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley
Corinna Stonewall, 15 years old, has the job of watching over the Folk, a bunch of cave-dwelling gremlins that sour milk, rot cabbage and make farm animals sick. Once cold and fiercely independent, Corinna changes when she learns of her origins and where her powers come from. This starts her on a journey to discover more about joy, understanding and romance.
JANUARY: When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt
Toby Wilson thinks he's in for the worst summer of his life. His mother has left for good, his best friend's brother came back from Vietnam in a coffin, and a strange new kid just moved into town and is getting all the attention. Funny thing is, when things seem their worst, they can actually turn out to be pretty good.
FEBRUARY: 145th Street Stories by Walter Dean Myers
Set in contemporary Harlem, this collection of short stories is a real eye opener for those who haven't experienced how hard life can be. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and ultimately, you'll have a better understanding of what it's like to live in the inner city.
MARCH: Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith
After tragically losing her best friend, a young woman closes herself off from the world, only to be drawn out by a controversy at a nearby Indian camp. As the photographer for a newspaper, she learns a great deal about life and discovers another side to herself.
APRIL: Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye
When an Arab-American girl moves from St. Louis to Jerusalem, she is forced to deal with prejudice and religious intolerance. To compound matters, she begins a relationship with a Jewish boy.
MAY: Under the Blood Red Sun by Graham Salisbury
This book is an unforgettable story of courage, survival and friendship as a young boy deals with problems of racism against Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
For more information about the books, including authors' Web sites, go to www.sptimes.com/nie/kidsread.