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Ages 9-12

Our Voices: Books Set in Other Countries

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Astrid the Unstoppable by  Maria Parr
ASpeed and self-confidence, that's Astrid's motto. Nicknamed the little thunderbolt, she loves to spend her days racing down the hillside on her skis or sled, singing merrily as she goes, and drinking hot chocolate made from real chocolate bars with her grumpy best friend and godfather, Gunnvald. She just wishes there were other children to share in her hair-raising adventures. But her world is about to be turned upside down, first by the arrival of a family with children to her village, and then by a mysterious woman whom everyone but Astrid seems to know. Gunnvald has been keeping a big secret from her --one that will test their friendship. Astrid isn't happy about all the changes in Glimmerdal. Luckily, she has a plan to set things right. Translated from Norwegian.
Before the Sword by Grace Lin
An original tale, inspired by legends of Mulan Hua and popularized by Disney. When her sister is bitten by a poisonous spider, Mulan travels with a healer to find a flower from which the antidote can be made to save her sister's life. Includes bibliographical references (page 379).
Catherine's War by  Julia Billet
As France buckles under the Nazi regime, budding photographer Rachel Cohen must change her name, go into hiding, and bear witness to the atrocities of World War II.
Mission Mumbai: a Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets by Mahtab Narsimhan
Dylan, an aspiring photographer, is spending a month in Mumbai with his friend Rohit Lal and his family, but knowing nothing of Indian culture, he cannot seem to do anything right (do not hit cows!)--and the situation is made worse by the tensions within the Lal family over whether Rohit should be raised in India, which Mr. Lal's wealthy sister is pushing for.
Moonlocket by  Peter Bunzl
Follows Lily, Robert, and Malkin the mechanical fox as they race around steampunk, Victorian London trying to solve a mystery involving the criminal mastermind Jack of Diamonds and a family heirloom. A thrilling tale of catastrophe and courage
One Half From the East by Nadia Hashimi
In modern-day Afghanistan, 10-year-old Obayda is a bacha posh, a girl dressed as a boy. She has more freedom than she would as a girl, and makes a good friend of another bacha posh, but must find a way to remain free when she returns to life as a girl.
The Bridge Home by  Padma Venkatraman
Life is harsh in Chennai's teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter--and friendship--on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city's trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom. Set in India.
The Griffins of Castle Cary by  Heather Shumaker
Siblings Meg and Will must uncover the haunted history of their Aunt's quaint town in order to save their younger sister, Ariel, from a ghost intent on keeping her as a friend. Set in England.
The Secret Deep by  Lindsay Galvin
Awakening stranded on a tropical island with no memory of what happened, Aster investigates a secret underwater world to find her missing sister, while Sam connects their disappearance to suspicious events in his own life.
The Whispering Wars by  Jaclyn Moriarty
Told in multiple voices, after students from elite Brathelthwaite Boarding School and the Orphanage School compete in the Spindthrift Tournament, they team up to face the Whisperers.
Top-Secret Smackdown by Mac Barnett
There is a legend that if the ravens at the Tower of London ever leave then Britain will fall, so when somebody steals the birds, the Queen calls for Mac B. to find the thief and retrieve them--a mission that takes him to Iceland, where he encounters secret submarines, hungry polar bears, and his arch-nemesis from the KGB.
Words on Fire by  Jennifer A Nielsen
In 1893 twelve-year-old Audra lives on a farm in Lithuania, and tries to avoid the Cossack soldiers who enforce the Russian decrees that ban Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language; but when the soldiers invade the farm Audra is the only one who escapes and, unsure of what has happened to her parents, she embarks on a dangerous journey, carrying the smuggled Lithuanian books that fuel the growing resistance movement, unsure of who to trust, but risking her life and freedom for her country.
Updated 02/26/2020