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Why the Stomach Growls

Pamela Duncan Edwards (author), Bridget Starr Taylor (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627536455

According to African Mythology, a lonely Creator made the first human being as separate parts, such as eyes to share the beauty of the garden, a nose to smell the flowers, and legs to skip and run. Finally, a stomach was fashioned. All of the parts enjoyed their functions, except for the stomach, which didn't know what to do. Bored and jealous, the growling, grumbling stomach caused problems for all the others. The angry Creator decided to put all of the parts together so they would have to get along. He placed the stomach right in the middle, but sometimes it still growls. Colorful prose and whimsical illustrations ignite the imagination of young readers.

The Voyageur's Paddle

Kathy-jo Wargin (author), David Geister (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531221

Voyageur is the French word for "traveler," but in the Great Lakes region during the seventeenth century it described those men who made their living trading furs and goods along water routes. Traveling by canoe, these voyageurs helped to establish north woods trading posts and settlements, opening up the West to future exploration. Young Jacques's father is such a voyageur. He works long hours in bitterly cold weather, absent from home for weeks at a time. As he awaits his father's return from a season of trading, Jacques dreams of the day he will hold the canoe paddle and join the ranks of voyageurs.

Smudge and the Book of Mistakes: A Christmas Story

Gloria Whelan (author), Stephen Costanza (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627530996

The monastery of St. Ambrose is situated on the Irish island of Morcarrick. Here, monks old and young live quiet lives spent in prayer and service. One day the Abbot decides that Brother Bede, their finest illuminator of manuscripts, will illustrate the Christmas story. It will be magnificent, praised throughout the world (as will St. Ambrose). Unfortunately, young Brother Cuthbert has been chosen to assist Brother Bede in this project. Cuthbert is impatient, lacks discipline, and even worse--is known for making mistakes. His nickname is "Smudge." How can someone so ill-suited assist in the creation of the greatest book of all? Award-winning author Gloria Whelan shows that sometimes, when given the right task, someone's greatest weakness can prove to be his greatest strength.

No Year of the Cat

Mary Dodson Wade (author), Nicole Wong (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531078

The Emperor has a problem. He wants his people to remember the year in which his son was born. But there is no way to keep track of the years. So the Emperor devises a race in which animals will cross a river. The first twelve animals to reach the opposite side will have a year named after them. Thus, the people will be able to remember the years and the events that occurred. And so the race is set. Rat, knowing he is no match for the rushing water, schemes with Cat on how to cross the river. Together the two convince Ox to carry them across. But halfway across the river, Rat shows his true colors. Will Cat make it to the other side? Which animals will have a year named after them? Accompanied by exquisite watercolor artwork, this charming story explains the origins of the Chinese calendar.

The American Reader

Kathy-jo Wargin (author), K. L. Darnell (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627536431

We often sing the "Star Spangled Banner," but what do the words mean? Why did Franklin Delano Roosevelt stay in office longer than any other U.S. president? Following the style of an old-fashioned primer, The American Reader answers such questions as it gives children a modern, well-rounded view of what it means to be a good citizen. Captivating prose, poems, short stories, and games entertain as they teach about the diverse regions of our country, the history of the Pledge of Allegiance, the story of Clara Barton, and the official nicknames for each of our states. A story about Smokey Bear promotes an appreciation of nature and the need to protect it, and another explains how to be helpful and respectful to people with disabilities. The American Reader's lively variety and broad scope will give children of all ages much to learn, think about and enjoy for hours on end.

D is for Drum: A Native American Alphabet

Debbie Shoulders, Michael Shoulders (authors), Irving Toddy (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627536363

Did you know that natives of the Northwest used dried sharkskin to sand totem poles? Or that horses were called medicine dogs, because dogs had been used to aid in hunting before horses were introduced by Europeans? In "D is for Drum: A Native America Alphabet," readers will get an A-Z introduction to the many customs and cultures of the first people of this beautiful land. Bison, teepees, Kachinas and dugout canoes will all help to paint a fascinating picture of the more than 500 indigenous tribes inhabiting the Americas.

Elena's Story

Nancy Shaw (author), Kristina Rodanas (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410310330

Elena lives near a small town in western Guatemala. She lives there with her mother, her younger brother, Luis, and her baby sister, Ana. Her father is far away, working on a plantation. Elena struggles to keep up in school. Her teacher says she needs to practice her reading, but it's hard to find time to read. She must help her mother with the cooking and housework, as well as the hard work of planting and weeding their garden. As the big sister Elena is also in charge of watching over Luis to keep him out of mischief. It isn't always easy and she gets impatient with her little brother. But at the end of the day, when Elena shares a book with Luis, carefully sounding out the words, she comes to better understand and appreciate her role in the family.

F is for French: A Quebec Alphabet

Elaine Arsenault (author), Renn Benoit (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627530019

Founded in 1608, what city is one of the oldest in North America? Where and when was Canada's first road built? What world-famous circus was the inspiration of Baie-Saint-Paul street performers? Discover the answers to these questions, along with other facts, in F is for French: A Quebec Alphabet. Readers young and old can romp the sandy beaches of Les Iles de la Madeleine, visit Montreal's Space for Life (Canada's largest natural science museum complex), brave the arctic cold in the Nunavik region, or sit back and enjoy the music at one of the many performances taking place at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. This richly illustrated alphabet book is bilingual. A poem and informative sidebar text for each letter appears in French with an English translation.

In Andal's House

Gloria Whelan (author), Amanda Hall (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627530040

As a young boy in Gujarat, India, Kumar sometimes feels like he lives in two worlds. First there is the old world where people and their choices are determined by prejudice and bigotry. But then there is the second, modern world: in this world Kumar can be friends with whomever he chooses and his future looks bright. As part of the annual Diwali celebration, Kumar is invited to the house of his classmate Andal to watch fireworks. Andal is from a high-caste Brahmin family so Kumar is especially pleased to be included. But there in Andal's house, Kumar's two worlds collide in a very unpleasant way. Instead of being welcomed as a guest, Kumar is sent away, forbidden to join the festivities. Angry and hurt, Kumar is left questioning his place in Indian society. Where does he fit in? To which world does he really belong?

Paper Son: Lee's Journey to America

Virginia Shin Mui Loh, Helen Foster James (author), Wilson Ong (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627530118

In 1926, 12-year-old Fu Lee lives with his grandparents in a small village in China. He lives with his grandparents because his parents are dead. It is a difficult life but made easier by the love Lee shares with his grandparents. But now Lee must leave all that he knows. Before his parents died, they spent all of their money buying a "paper son slot" for Lee to go to America. Being a "paper son" means pretending to be the son of a family already in America. If he goes, he will have the chance for a better life. But first he must pass the test at Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco. Only then will he be allowed to live with his new family. If Lee makes even a single mistake, he could be sent back to China. Lee knows his grandparents want a better life for him. He can't let them down.

T is for Territories: A Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut Alphabet

Michael Kusugak (author), Iris Churcher (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627530132

In T is for Territories: A Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut Alphabet, acclaimed storyteller Michael Kusugak gives an A-Z tour of Canada's three territories, the northern region of the country that is a giant in size, history, and culture. Young readers can kick up their heels at the Arctic Winter Games with sports such as the one-foot high-kick, listen to world-renowned storytellers at Whitehorse's International Storytelling Festival, or experience Wood Buffalo National Park where sometimes visitors have to stop and wait for wildlife to get out of the way. Everyone will enjoy this alphabetical journey that showcases the riches of the territories.

The Listeners

Gloria Whelan (author)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585365968

Ella May lives on a plantation but she doesn't live in the great house. She is a slave. It's dark in the morning when Ella May heads to the fields to pick cotton. And it's sunset when she comes home. But her day isn't done, not yet. Ella May still has important work to do. She's got to listen. Each night Ella May and her friends secretly listen outside the windows of their master's house. The children listen in the hopes of gleaning information about their fates and those of their loved ones. Who will be sold? Who will stay? The lives of slaves depended on the inclinations of their owners. They had no control over their daily lives or futures. But they could dream. And when the promise of freedom appears on the horizon, the children are the first to hear it.

Pappy's Handkerchief

Devin Scillian (author), Chris Ellison (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410310033

Young Moses and his family are barely scraping by. He helps his father in their fish stall selling each day's catch to passersby but times are hard in 1889 Baltimore. It's difficult to provide for a family of ten. But when they hear of free farmland out in Oklahoma, it sounds like the answer to their prayers. The family sells all they own and heads west to fulfill a lifelong dream. Their wagon journey, however, is plagued with troubles from ice storms and flooded rivers to diminishing supplies and sickness. Yet Moses and his family persevere. They arrive in time to take a place along the boundary line that marks the staging point for the Oklahoma Land Run. But after making it this far, will even more bad luck prevent them from realizing their dream of owning their own piece of America?

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?

B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet

Patricia Bauer (author), David Geister (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585365944

B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet takes readers on a journey into one of the most important chapters of our nation's past. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest, most divisive events to take place in America's history, and most certainly ever on American soil. For four years our young country's sense of self and citizenry was shaken to the core as North and South battled each other. B is for Battle Cry brings to life historic battles (Antietam and Gettysburg), renowned leaders (Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee), inventions (ironclad ship and Gatling gun), and inspiring events and documents (the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation). From the first shot fired at Fort Sumter to Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, B is for Battle Cry brings this nation-defining time period to vivid life.

Rebekkah's Journey: A World War II Refugee Story

Ann E. Burg (author), Joel Iskowitz (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410365774

In 1944 a vacant army base in upstate New York became the temporary home of over 900 men, women and children who had fled Europe towards the end of World War II. With little more than the clothing on their backs, Rebekkah and her mother are just two of the many refugees who come to live in the camp. Adjusting to a strange new world and a new language, Rebekkah puts aside her own fears to try and recreate tiny bits of home for her mother. A fictional story based on the real-life experiences of surviving refugees, Rebekkah's Journey shares the illuminating story of one refugee's arrival on America's shores.

Minnow and Rose: An Oregon Trail Story

Judy Young (author), Bill Farnsworth (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308481

In the mid-1800s thousands of pioneers crossed the western plains of the United States using the 2,000-mile pathway called the Oregon Trail. Minnow and her family live in one of the many native villages scattered across the plains. She has a lively sense of adventure and her favorite pastime is swimming in the nearby river where she rightly earns her nickname. Rose and her family are traveling in one of the many wagon trains making their way west. It's been a tedious journey with little excitement. Rose can't wait for something thrilling to happen. And one day it does. On the banks of a rushing river that divides one way of life from another, two very different cultures come face-to-face, with life-changing results.

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.

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.

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.

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.