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T is for Thor: A Norse Mythology Alphabet

Virginia Loh-Hagan (author)Torstein Nordstrand (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781534167377

Otherworldly landscapes, thundering soundtracks, epic battles between superhero gods and monsters--current movies and book series have turned Norse mythology into popular commercial entertainment in recent years. But there's a lot more to this mythic universe than trickster Loki and his hammer-wielding god of thunder brother. T is for Thor: A Norse Mythology Alphabet takes readers beyond the movie screen and into the world of Scandinavian mythology, history, culture, and religion. Author Virginia Loh-Hagan not only examines Thor, Odin, Heimdall, and the famous Valkyries, but she also explains and introduces other inhabitants of this nine-realm universe. From learning about Ymir, the first frost giant, to Yggdrasil, the world tree holding everything together, mythology and fantasy fans of all ages will enjoy this alphabetical exploration. Fantastical artwork from Norwegian artist Torstein Nordstrand brings it all to vivid life.

The People of Twelve Thousand Winters

Trinka Hakes Noble (author), Jim Madsen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410310026

Ten-year-old Walking Turtle is of the Lenni Lenape tribe. He lives with his family in a small village alongside the Passaic River in what will become northern New Jersey. They have a relatively peaceful life, with nature offering up a bounty of resources for food and shelter, amply meeting their needs. Walking Turtle is close to his younger cousin, Little Talk. He feels protective of Little Talk, who has difficulty walking. Together they roam the forests near their village, with Walking Turtle carrying his cousin on his back. But in the autumn of Walking Turtle's tenth year, his father tells him that soon he must leave childhood friends behind and begin warrior school. Walking Turtle worries about what will become of Little Talk when he leaves for his training. And what is his future?

Let Them Play

Margot Theis Raven (author), Chris Ellison (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308153

Segregated Charleston, SC, 1955: There are 62 official Little League programs in South Carolina -- all but one of the leagues is composed entirely of white players. The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars, an all-black team, is formed in the hopes of playing in the state's annual Little League Tournament. What should have been a time of enjoyment, however, turns sour when all of the other leagues refuse to play against them and even pull out of the program. As the only remaining Little League team in the state, Cannon Street was named state winner by default, giving the boys a legitimate spot in the Little League Baseball World Series held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. While the Cannon Street team is invited to the game as guests, they are not allowed to participate since they have not officially "played" and won their state's tournament. Let Them Play takes its name from the chant shouted by the spectators who attended the World Series final.

F is for Friendship: A Quilt Alphabet

Helen L. Wilbur (author), Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410307798

Quilting has existed for thousands of years, spanning the globe, practiced by women as well as men, and bringing together communities and generations. F is for Friendship: A Quilt Alphabet examines the subject of quilting, as an art form as well as an item of utility, tracing its early history from a cave in Mongolia to patchwork bedcoverings transported in overland wagon trains to present-day exhibits at renowned museums. Topics include patterns, inventions, and fabric choices, as well as quilts as vehicles of American history.

A Christmas Spider's Miracle

Trinka Hakes Noble (author), Stephen Costanza (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410307941

Long ago in a faraway place there lived two mothers. One, a humble peasant woman who struggled daily to provide for her children. And the other, a mother spider who also worked hard to care for her family. And although it would appear they were as different as night and day, these two mothers had more in common than would first seem. As the only holiday gift she can give her children, one cold Christmas Eve the peasant woman goes to the forest to get a tree, never noticing that someone has made a home among its branches. During the night, the mother spider spins webs decorating the tree, resulting in a Christmas that neither mother will ever forget. Based on an old Ukrainian story, Trinka Hakes Noble (The Orange Shoes) crafts an original heartwarming tale of the grace that can be found in the true spirit of Christmas.

Megan's Year: An Irish Traveler's Story

Gloria Whelan (author), Beth Peck (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410307927

Through the voice of a young girl, the life of the people known as Irish Travelers is explored. Megan spends her summers traveling around the Irish countryside with her family. They move from place to place, hauling their camper behind their old car. But they aren't on vacation. This is their way of life. Megan and her family are Travelers. As part of their summer life, Megan's father works odd jobs, from fieldwork to roofing houses. Despite the rough living, Megan loves her life and the freedom that comes from traveling the open road. But at summer's end, when there's no more work to be had, the family moves to the city of Dublin. The camper is parked and they move into a cramped house. Megan and her siblings attend the local school as their parents struggle to make ends meet. And as the seasons pass, Megan counts down the days until she can return to her summer life.

G is for Gladiator: An Ancient Rome Alphabet

Debbie Shoulders, Michael Shoulders (author), Victor Juhasz (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585365753

According to Roman legend, what famous twins were raised by a she-wolf? Who wrote the epic poem, The Aeneaid? What famous leader brought law and stability, yet was stabbed to death by a group of senators? Life in ancient Rome was certainly not for the faint of heart! In G is for Gladiator: An Ancient Rome Alphabet, readers are given an A-Z introduction to ancient Rome, including its social, political, and civil customs and practices. Husband-and-wife writing team Debbie and Michael Shoulders explore topics such as Roman law, architecture, mythology, and of course, the ultimate "fight club" (gladiatorial combat). From the relaxed surroundings of the public baths to the rigid codes of the military legions, Rome's ancient civilization is unveiled. Colorful, entertaining artwork from Victor Juhasz, the illustrator of Z is for Zeus: A Greek Mythology Alphabet, brings it all to vivid life. Debbie and Michael Shoulders also coauthored D is for Drum: A Native American Alphabet. Debbie teaches middle school and reviews children's literature. An educator for 30 years, Mike now writes and travels year-round, championing literacy. He has written 10 books for Sleeping Bear Press. They live in Clarksville, Tennessee. Victor Juhasz's books include R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet and D is for Democracy: A Citizen's Alphabet. His work appears regularly in many major magazines and newspapers including Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Victor lives in Stephentown, New York.