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After the Germans bomb the schoolhouse and the long-residing Russian soldiers prepare to leave the area, Patryk's small, isolated village is suddenly a whirlwind of activity. Inspired by the frequent comings and goings of military men, Jurek, the cruel, conniving leader of Patryk's group of classmates, declares a daring challenge: whoever procures the best button from a soldier's uniform gets to be king. Patryk is determined to beat Jurek at his own game, but he is no match for Jurek's determination to win at all costs, even as the game turns deadly.
On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work--Chernobyl--has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who've always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina's estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person.
In 1857 India, 12-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in--and certain death on her husband's funeral pyre--only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against British colonizers spreads, she must choose between relative safety in a British household or standing up for herself and her people
In 1948, following World War II, eleven-year-old Anna, her mother, and older sister must flee Czechoslovakia after Russian Communists take over the government. Includes notes about the author's family history, on which the story is based.
When the Berlin Wall went up, Gerta, her mother, and her brother Fritz are trapped on the eastern side where they were living, while her father, and her other brother Dominic are in the West--four years later, now twelve, Gerta sees her father on a viewing platform on the western side and realizes he wants her to risk her life trying to tunnel to freedom.
After his mother dies, Damon, a young medical student living in Alexandria, Egypt, in 45 B.C., makes a perilous journey to Spain to locate his father who is serving in the Roman army led by Julius Caesar.
Eleven-year-old Lam, her brothers, and other ethnic Chinese flee Vietnam in 1979, embarking on a long and perilous journey toward a refugee camp, where Lam finds new hope and happiness. Includes historical notes, glossary, and pronunciation guide.
In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values, and beliefs.