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.
It's summertime and hoops season is over, but that doesn't keep Nick and Kia off the court. One very hot day they head to the rec center for a swim but end up on the outdoor courts that are usually dominated by older players. Their enjoyment of the court is short-lived, however, when three teens show up and kick the kids and their ball off the court. Nick and Kia don't take well to being bullied, but there's nothing they can do about it. At least not until they run into Jerome "Junk Yard Dog" Williams at a mall promotional event, and Kia enlists the NBA star's help in proving that she and Nick do indeed belong on the same court as the older players. Eric Walters has teamed up with NBA fan-favorite and former Toronto Raptor and current New York Knick Jerome "Junk Yard Dog" Williams for the eighth installment of this best-selling basketball series. Jerome's royalties will help support the JYD Project, which is run by his brother, Johnnie Williams. The JYD Project's goal is to reach more than half a million Canadian and American students over a five-year period with their inspirational message.
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.
Addy has worn hearing aids for as long as she can remember. Her mother tells her this makes her special, but now that Addy's in grade six, she wants to be special for what she's done. When Addy joins the school running club to keep her best friend, Lucy, company, she discovers she is a gifted runner. Lucy isn't, which is problematic. Further troubles surface when Addy gets paired on a school project with Sierra, a smart, self-assured new classmate who wears a cochlear implant. Addy is surprised to discover hearing loss is all they have in commonand a shared disability is not enough of a foundation for a friendship. True friends support each other, even if they have different passions and dreams. More importantly, Addy comes to understand that she is defined by more than her hearing loss. She has the power to choose how people will see her, and she does.
Dickon wasn't happy in his old home or his old school. He hopes that in his new neighborhood he will meet children who never knew his old, hyper self, who will like him for who he is now. And he hopes for a dog of his own. Dickon's mother calls him Birdie. She feeds him milk from a teddy bear mug. She worries if he's out of her sight for a moment and she knows how filthy and vicious dogs can be. Dickon is delighted to discover that the Humane Society is right on the other side of the fence behind the new house, but only by disobeying his mother will he ever get close to a real dog.
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.
Belle, an 11-year-old Mtis 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.