Girl Only Book Club: Grade 2-4
Ten-year-old Rosario Ramirez and her family are political refugees from Mexico, trying to make a new life in Canada. After being teased at school, Rosario vows not to speak English again until she can speak with an accent that’s one hundred percent Canadian. Since she and her parents plan to spend the whole summer working on BC fruit farms, she will be surrounded by Spanish speakers again. But when her family’s closest friend Jose gets terribly sick, Rosario’s plans start to unravel. Neither Jose nor Rosario’s parents speak English well enough to get him the help he needs. Like it or not, Rosario must face her fears about letting her voice be heard.
Belle, an 11-year-old Métis girl, and Sarah both want the coveted job of church bell ringer. An embroidery contest is held to award the position, and Sarah cheats. Before Belle can expose her, the two are caught up in the advancing forces of General Middleton and his troops as they surround Batoche in the 1885 Riel Rebellion. The church bell disappeared that day and remains missing to this day.
Casey will have to do a lot of pet-sitting to earn the money she needs to buy Lightning, a beloved horse. Her hopes of buying Lightning are dashed when she learns that his owner has found a buyer and must sell the horse immediately. Across the street from Casey’s house a mystery unfolds as a seldom-seen woman who seems to be able to read minds prepares to host a carnival and a yo-yo contest that boasts a $1500 prize. Casey’s yo-yo is buried in her closet. She has a great talent and a greater case of stage fright.
Colette Faizal isn’t superstitious, so she doesn’t worry when a fortune-teller advises Colette’s mother to “watch for the unexpected.” But when her father announces he is going back to Iran, her mother is hurt in a car accident and Colette is sent to live with the grandparents she’s never even met, everything the mysterious woman predicted seems to be coming true. As Colette struggles to bring her family back together, she tries to hold on to the last thing the fortune-teller told her: “You will know how to handle what lies ahead.”
Jane is terrified of the masks hanging along her grandmother’s stairwell, and even more scared of the Spirit Man in her grandmother’s bathroom. After a week of avoiding him during a summer visit, she finally summons the courage to face him, minutes before leaving for the trip home. But her moment of triumph marks the beginning of a year of trouble for Jane and her family, trouble only Jane (and the Spirit Man) can fix.
Life is hard for ten-year-old Safiyah in the Kibera slum outside Nairobi. Too poor to go to school, she makes a meager living for herself and her grandmother Cucu by selling things she finds at the garbage dump. After using scavenged paper to fix up the inside of the hut, Safiyah starts a mural on the outside. As word of the paper house spreads, Safiyah begins to take pride in her creation. When Cucu collapses after a fire, Safiyah stays at the hospital to help care for her grandmother. While Safiyah is away, her friend Pendo works on the mural, which upsets Safiyah. But when Pendo attracts media attention to the paper house, Safiyah and her grandmother are given a chance of a better life.
Shannon is excited about spending a week at her friend Rina’s house, but she’s a little nervous too. Rina seems to be able to do everything better than she can and her home is chaotic compared to Shannon’s own. When things fall apart, Rina’s grandmother is there to tell them a story from her past, early in the Second World War. The story is about a rift between her and her childhood friend, Mitsu, a rift that could never be healed because Mitsu and her family were taken away from the small town of Paldi and interned with other Japanese Canadians. Rina’s grandmother, Jas, never saw Mitsu again. That is, not until Shannon and Rina find a handful of forgotten beads in the bottom of a cardboard box.
Princess Jill excels at jousting, fencing, skating and long-distance spitting. Her brother, King Jack, loves baking and spending time with Little Bo Peep and her sheep. So what’s a princess to do when she receives a mysterious letter from the land of Grimm? Take up ballroom dancing? Not Princess Jill. All alone, with only her wits to guide her, Jill sets off to rescue the citizens of Grimm. Along the way she makes many odd new friends and discovers the value of listening to your mother.