Based on the Los Angeles Times series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, this is a timeless story of families torn apart. When Enrique was five, his mother, too poor to feed her children, left Honduras to work in the United States. The move allowed her to send money back home so Enrique could eat better and go to school past the third grade. She promised she would return quickly, but she struggled in America. Without her, he became lonely and troubled. After eleven years, he decided he would go find her. He set off alone, with little more than a slip of paper bearing his mother's North Carolina telephone number. Without money, he made the dangerous trek up the length of Mexico, clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains. He and other migrants, many of them children, are hunted like animals. To evade bandits and authorities, they must jump onto and off the moving boxcars they call the Train of Death. It is an epic journey, one thousands of children make each year to find their mothers in the United States.
by Cheryl Benard
Call Number: 305.42 BEN
Publication Date: 2002-04-09
Afghan women have been treated terribly by the Taliban for many years; unable to attend school or to work, they risked beatings for even the most minor of infractions. But one courageous group of women stood against them: the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.
by Norma Khouri
Call Number: 305.42 KOH
Publication Date: 2003-01-28
Dalia was a young, beautiful Arabian Muslim living with her family in Amman, Jordan. At the age of twenty-five, she unexpectedly fell in love with Michael, a major in the Royal Army, and a Catholic. For a Muslim woman, any relationship with a Catholic man is forbidden, and Dalia was only too aware that flouting this rule could cost her her life.
But they were deeply in love, and with the help of Dalia's lifelong friend, Norma, with whom she ran a hair salon, they went to extraordinary lengths to meet in secret. Dalia and Michael were only alone on a handful of occasions, and their relationship remained entirely chaste. Although they covered their tracks meticulously, one of Dalia's brothers became suspicious and she was suddenly gripped by the terrifying reality of what might happen to them all.
Norma Khouri's book is a gift to the memory of her friend. In it she recounts a powerful love story that ends in an appalling tragedy, and also attempts to bring to the world's attention the continuing practice of honor killing in Jordan -- an ancient tradition that encourages the murder of women considered to have dishonored their families. It is a crime that effectively goes unpunished.
Nothing to Envy
by Barbara Demick
Call Number: 306 DEM
Publication Date: 2009-12-29
Chronicles the lives of six North Koreans over a span of fifteen years, exploring how the lives of ordinary citizens were impacted by key social, political, and economic events of the time.
by Akash Kapur
Call Number: 330.954 KAP
Publication Date: 2012-03-15
Provides an insider look at developments in rural and urban India that evaluates the impact of rapid economic growth and modernization on human lives, describing the profound transformations that have changed the country.
Living at the Edge of the World
by Jamie Pastor Bolnick; Tina S.
Call Number: 362.74 S
Publication Date: 2000-10-06
The author describes how she befriended April and spent her teenage years living in Grand Central Station, surviving rape, arrests, and addiction to crack before starting a normal life once again.
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced
by Delphine Minoui; Nujood Ali
Call Number: BIO ALI
Publication Date: 2010-03-02
"I'm a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no." Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse.
A Long Way Gone
by Ishmael Beah
Call Number: BIO BEA
Publication Date: 2007-02-13
This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. Ishmael Beah, now 25 years old, tells how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.
Mao's Last Dancer
by Li Cunxin
Call Number: BIO CUN
Publication Date: 2010-07-27
In a memoir of life in Maoist China, the author describes how he was taken from his family in rural China to study ballet in Beijing, his rise in the world of Chinese ballet, and his defection at age eighteen to the United States.
My Life as a Traitor
by Zarah Ghahramani; Robert Hillman; Z. Ghahramani
Call Number: BIO GHA
Publication Date: 2007-12-26
Ghahramani, 20, an Iranian student, was swept off the streets of Tehran and taken to the notorious Evin prison, where criminals and political dissidents were held side by side in conditions of legendary brutality. Her crime, she asserts, was sliding back her headscarf to feel the sun on her hair. This led to a political activism fueled by the fearless idealism of the young. Her parents begged her to be prudent, but even they could not have imagined the horrors she faced in prison. She underwent psychological and physical torture, fighting despair by recalling her idyllic childhood in an affectionate family that prized tolerance and freedom of thought. After a show trial, Ghahramani was driven deep into the desert outside Tehran, uncertain if she was to be executed or freed. There she was abandoned to begin the long walk back.
by IraqiGirl; Elizabeth Wrigley-Field (Editor); John Ross (Editor)
Call Number: BIO HAD
Publication Date: 2009-08-01
Fifteen-year-old Hadiya reflects on family, friendship, and community while she blogs from her home in the city of Mosul, Iraq; and details it is like to live in a military occupied country between 2004 and 2009.
by Emmanuel Jal; Megan Lloyd Davies
Call Number: BIO JAL
Publication Date: 2009-02-03
A memoir of Emmanuel Jal's upbringing during the civil war in Sudan in the 1980s and conscription into the Christian Sudanese Liberation army as a child soldier, and covers his rescue and adoption by a British aid worker and success as a hip-hop recording artist and documentary film subject.
by Adeline Yen Mah
Call Number: BIO MAH
Publication Date: 1999-04-06
Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer. A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding.
by Mikey Walsh
Call Number: BIO WAL
Publication Date: 2012-02-14
Mikey Walsh's memoir of his life in a Romany Gypsy family, and his choice to leave.
Recommended Fiction Books
by Elizabeth Stewart
Call Number: FIC STE
Publication Date: 2014-01-09
"Coltan, or "blue gold," is a rare mineral used in making cell phones and computers. Across continents, the lives of three teen girls are affected by the "blue gold" trade. "
Sylvie's family had to flee the Democratic Republic of the Congo after her father was killed by a rogue militia gang in the conflict for control of coltan. The refugee camp where she now lives is deplorable, and Sylvie yearns for a way out -- to save not only herself, but her remaining family.
Laiping labors in a Chinese factory, soldering components for cell phones. She had left her small village to make her fortune, but the factory conditions are crushing, and the constant pressure to send money home adds to her misery. Yet when Laiping tries to improve her situation, she sees what happens to those who dare question the electronics company's policies.
Fiona is a North American girl who, in one thoughtless moment, takes a picture on her cell phone she comes to regret. In the aftermath, she learns not only about trust and being true to oneself, but the importance of fighting for what is right.
All three teens are unexpectedly linked by these events.
by Allan Stratton
Call Number: FIC STR
Publication Date: 2004-03-06
Chandra struggles with the deaths of those around her and the shame of being molested as she continues her education and cares for her siblings and friend Esther, amidst the proverty and AIDs epidemic that plague her African homeland.
by Eliot Schrefer
Call Number: FIC SCH
Publication Date: 2012-10-01
The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.
When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she's not thrilled to be there. It's her mother's passion, and she'd rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.
by Dakota Lane (Illustrator)
Call Number: FIC LAN
Publication Date: 2008-11-25
Sixteen-year-olds Chelsea and Miya have a lot in common, from their love of blogging, loss of loved ones, and the Shonin rainbow warrior books, to nationalities, even though they are half-way across the world from each other.
by Padma Venkatraman
Call Number: FIC VEN
Publication Date: 2011-08-04
A young girl trains to be the new spiritual leader of her remote Andaman Island tribe, while facing increasing threats from the modern world.
Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet
by Kashmira Sheth
Call Number: FIC SHE
Publication Date: 2006-03-20
Growing up with her family in Mumbai, India, sixteen-year-old Jeeta disagrees with much of her mother's traditional advice about how to live her life and tries to be more modern and independent.
Never Fall Down
by Patricia McCormick
Call Number: FIC MCC
Publication Date: 2012-05-08
When soldiers arrive in his hometown in Cambodia, Arn Chorn Pond is separated from his family and sent to a labor camp, where he works in the rice paddies until he volunteers to learn to play an instrument--a decision that both saves his life and lands him in battle.
by Patricia McCormick
Call Number: FIC MCC
Publication Date: 2006-09-15
A novel in vignettes, in which Lakshmi, a thirteen-year-old girl from Nepal, is sold into prostitution in India.
The Flame Tree
by Richard Lewis
Call Number: FIC LEW
Publication Date: 2004-07-27
Just before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an anti-American Muslim group gains power in Java, and Isaac, the twelve-year-old son of American missionary doctors, finds his world turned upside-down.
The Good Braider
by Terry Farish
Call Number: FIC FAR
Publication Date: 2012-05-01
Follows Viola as she survives brutality in war-torn Sudan, makes a perilous journey, lives as a refugee in Egypt, and finally reaches Portland, Maine, where her quest for freedom and security is hampered by memories of past horrors and the traditions her mother and other Sudanese adults hold dear. Includes historical facts and a map of Sudan.
The Milk of Birds
by Sylvia Whitman
Call Number: FIC WHI
Publication Date: 2013-04-16
When a nonprofit organization called Save the Girls pairs a fourteen-year-old Sudanese refugee with an American teenager from Richmond, Virginia, the pen pals teach each other compassion and share a bond that bridges two continents.
When he was a boy, Luc's mother would warn him about the "mock men" living in the trees by their home -- chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night.
Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn't mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job.
Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family -- and must act when that family comes under attack.