When Nick and Kia arrive for try-outs for the basketball team they played on the previous year, they are surprised to learn that their coach is retiring. The surprises continue when the new coach is introduced. Coach Barkley, a former college star known for his fierce desire to win, missed out on a pro career due to a serious injury. Though the coach has been away from the game for many years, his competitive instincts are as strong as ever and his aggressive coaching techniques are a new experience for these kids. Practices are long and hard and not nearly as much fun as they used to be.<br>Suddenly making the rep team no longer seems the sure thing that Nick and Kia expected when they came to try-outs. The new coach expects near perfection from the youngsters and does not deal well with anything less. This is hard on Nick and Kia, but especially difficult for the coach's son, L.B., who is also trying out for the team.<br>When the coach matches them up against a team of older players and then refuses to accept their loss, the kids begin to wonder if they even want to make this team. Nick, Kia and L.B. finally have to decide whether to play for a tyrant or to take a stand on principle and face the consequences.<br>
Abandoned by her father during the Depression, eleven-year-old Elsie lives in the garage behind her old house with her mother, grandmother Nan and out-of-work uncle. Elsie's friend Scoop accompanies her as she searches for her father in the city, encountering unfriendly hobos, food lines and shantytowns. After both her uncle and her mother disappear on mysterious errands, Elsie and Scoop eventually discover them competing in a dance marathon. Persuading them to abandon the contest, Elsie and Scoop lead the exhausted dancers home, where Nan has news of Elsie's father and his impending return to the family.
Unlike his perfect older sister, Jenna, Conner hates his piano lessons and gets bad grades in math. He's really good at bike tricks and he loves animals, but his parents have a no-pets rule and they don't take his bike-riding seriously. When the local animal shelter gets overcrowded, everybody in Conner's pet club agrees to take in a foster pet. Conner has to hide his rat, Oscar, from his family, who would never believe that Oscar is smart and cute and pretty lovable. Or would they?
In The White Horse Talisman, Chantel, Adam, Holly and Owen must help Equus, the great white horse, find his mate and foal and regain his magical talisman. But as the horse rises, so does the dragon. The age-old battle between good and evil threatens the bond between Chantel and Adam and endangers the quest. This is fantasy as its best, a story that raises hairs on the back of the neck and sends satisfying chills up and down the spine, a story that, while clearly drawn from the rich world of make believe, feels truer than true. The White Horse Talisman is the first of four books in The Summer of Magic Quartet. Book two is Dance of the Stones. Book three is Heart of the Hill. Book four is Behind the Sorcerer's Cloak.
Murphy and his three friends, Danny, Jeff and Albert, are making the transition from the tribal elementary school to the community middle school. They are all trying out for the middle school's soccer team, and they're pretty confident that The Formidable Four will all make the team. But once the tryouts begin, Albert, the tribal-school superstar, plays like a second stringer. Murphy's new friend, Molly, is determined to help the boys find out what's wrong with Albert, but when they discover the truth, they realize that Albert is playing a whole different game.
Addison Addley hates math. He hates public speaking too. Actually, he hates anything that involves work, but he only has a couple of weeks to write and memorize his grade five speech. The problem is, he cant think of a single topic. When he finally comes up with an excellent idea for a speech, it almost writes itself, but it's his poor math skills that make speech day unforgettable.
Addison's mother wants to sell their comfortable old house and move into a townhouse in a new development across town; a shoe box near a shoe factory, Addison calls it. As usual, Addison's brain goes into overdrive as he tries to solve two problems: first he must get his mother to see their old house in a new light, and then he must figure out who is responsible for a rash of neighborhood break-ins that make his mother feel unsafe. With the help of his friend Sam, he puts his own unique spin on optical illusions (and home decor) and ends up surprising everyone, even himself.