The year is 1935 and Maggie Sullivan's world has fallen apart. Maggie has grown up in a close-knit mining community perched atop a mountain in British Columbia. But now her father has been killed in a mine explosion and she is being forced to leave the only home she has ever known. To make matters worse, she must also leave behind her best friend Lucky, the three-legged dog that was a special gift from Pa.
The Depression has ruined Henry Dafoe's life: his father has left the family farm to look for work, his mother is sick and now she's decided to send Henry to Nova Scotia to work on his uncle's fishboat. But Henry has other ideas. He runs away from home to join his father, which proves more difficult than he imagined. Alone and scared in a strange city, he befriends an old hobo named Clickety Clack, who agrees to take him to find his father. As they make their way across the country, Clickety Clack teaches Henry about the secret signs that hoboes use to communicate with each other.
The year is 1909 and Joseph has just immigrated to the United States from Russia. He thinks that life in New York City will be wonderful, but he has not bargained for the challenges of learning English and of resisting the pressures to skip school, steal and fight to earn a place among the boys in his neighbourhood. Just Call Me Joe presents a full picture of life in New York City for the working poor. Anna, Joe's older sister, struggles to cope with the terrible factory conditions of the time. Aunt Sophie must take in boarders to make ends meet. And Joseph must both accept change and remain true to himself in a new city with new challenges.
Ellie and her little brother Max find themselves moving from their grandmother's comfortable home in England to Upper Canada. Their mother is dead, Father wants to start over again, and in 1835 there are many opportunities for settlers in British North America. Despite the strangeness of this vast new world, Ellie is sure things will turn out all right, as long as the family stays together. But once they are in Upper Canada, Father leaves Ellie and Max with strangers on an isolated homestead, while he goes on ahead to find land and build a cabin. Although the mother and father are kind to her, Ellie makes an enemy of their daughter Mary, who is insulted by the newcomer's distant manners, fine clothes and talk of her London home. Ellie's loneliness and discomfort, however, gradually turns into a growing fear. Where is Father? Why hasn't he come back to them? A gripping story for young readers that explored the world of early settlers.
In the final months of World War II, ten-year-old Peggy shelters with her mother and baby brother in a London butcher's shop during an air raid. They survive, but their home and everything in it are lost, including Peggy's most treasured possession, a biscuit tin of letters from her father. Their lives change dramatically and Peggy makes friends with a boy named Spud who has a passion for scavenging bombsites, leading to more than one surprising discovery.
Mary is certain that her parents are giving her new shoes for Christmas, but the Depression has hit her Saskatchewan farming family hard. Mary tries to hide her disappointment when she receives a crude homemade doll instead. She ends up liking the doll much more than she expects, but the doll fuels the rivalry between Mary and her older sister, Judith. Then, when the doll disappears a few weeks later during a snowstorm, Mary and Judith's relationship changes once again.
Jesse's project about his immigrant ancestors is due tomorrow and he hasn't started. In a last-ditch effort to find some information about his great-great grandfather, Yossi, Jesse rummages through the mess in the attic until he finds a little battered travel case, full of pictures, and something else - a Star of David. At first it looks plain and unimportant, but as he holds it in his hand, the star begins to glow. Jesse is in for the surprise, and adventure, of his life as he finds himself becoming the star's first owner, his own great-great grandfather. Now a boy in Russia in the 1880s, Yossi lives in a little village, watched over by thieving soldiers who hate the Jewish community and often raid their crops before they can be stored for the winter. The whole village prays for the opportunity to slip away from their Russian keepers and escape to Canada, a land where they can be free. And nobody, even his parents, think Yossi is old enough to be of any help. But Yossi is out to prove them all wrong. If his plan works, he will set the whole village free. And he must do it alone. An adventure story for young readers, Jesse's Star is also a compelling history of one family's struggle to be free in the new world.