Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The White Giraffe

After the sudden death of her parents, eleven-year-old Martine Allen finds herself on an airplane to South Africa, where her Grandmother runs a wildlife reserve called Sawubona. Amost immediately she finds herself involved in several mysteries. Why is her Grandmother so cold toward her? Why didn't her mother tell her about growing up at Sawubona? Why does her Grandmother want to keep Martine from Grace, a local sangoma or traditional healer? Who is responsible for the threatening the animals? Does the rare white giraffe really exist? And is she the girl of the prophecy - the girl with the gift that was predicted so long ago?

The world of Sawubona is beautiful and amazing. Martine soons falls in love with the land, the people, and most of all - the animals. As she discovers clues to the many mysteries around her, events begin to turn dangerous. Martine also discovers the gift that lies within her.

The author of The White Giraffe, Lauren St. John, also grew up on a wildlife reserve in Africa. Her books are so full of rich details that you will think you are actually in Africa! If you click on the title above, you can listen to an audio interview with the author and to excerpts from this book and its sequels Dolphin Song and The Last Leopard.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Operation Redwood

Julian Carter Li is having a terrible time. His mother had to leave for a photographic work assignment in China. Since his father had died several years ago, Julian had to stay with his aunt and uncle until school ended for the year. Although he liked his younger cousin, his aunt and uncle were very strict with him and he began to understand that he was not welcome in their home. His suspicions proved true when he discovered their plans to send him to math camp for a month, followed by Chinese language camp.

Julian also discovered that his uncle Sibley was the CEO of an investment company that planned to cut down old growth redwood trees in northern California. Old growth trees can be thousands of years old. Julian becomes an email buddy with Robin, a girl who lives next to the threatened redwood forest. With the help of his best friend Danny Lopez, Julian forges a plan to escape from math camp to spend a month with Robin and her family in the redwoods. Julian, Danny, and Robin soon find themselves defending the redwoods from destruction and their plan takes a dangerous turn.

I really enjoyed this book because I used to live and work in California near the redwoods. There was even a redwood tree in the courtyard outside my school library! Redwood trees are so old and so tall, that other bushes and trees live high in their leaves. Like Julian, I can't understand why someone would cut down a tree that is thousands of years old. If you want to learn more about the redwoods, click on the book title to visit the website of the author S. Terrell French.

The oldest and tallest redwood trees actually haves names! Hyperion is the tallest known redwood. To look at amazing pictures of Hyperion and other champion redwood, follow this link;

Operation Redwood would be a great book to read in a tree house!