340W: A Children’s Book about Racism in a General Store

This was a book used to discuss prejudices and racism in 5th grade classrooms in the late 90s. The characters in the book go to a general store and are treated poorly by others in the store. The N word is used many times throughout the book. I recall many Mildred D. Taylor books being used in this curriculum, so this could just be a specific chapter in one of her books, rather than the entire book? Perhaps The Friendship? I recall a specific young character in the book really wanting a piece of hard candy from the general store!

338D: Childhood Series – Encyclopedias?

I attended Plat Elementary School in Colgate, WI and as a child in the 1st-4th grades I recall going to the tiny school’s library and viewing a series of books – larger hard cover books – almost set up like an encyclopedia series. In one book there was a story featuring a giant eagle (possibly a thunderbird) carrying a little girl away on a mountain (or wilderness path of sorts). She had a gold dress on and wore pigtails. She was reaching out in the air in panic and there was a gentleman who was running after her in the background – I believe he had a green cap on and possibly suspenders – I thought he was German or Bavarian or from Europe (possibly the Canadian thunderbird story). The graphics looked very 50s – full color. In one of the other books of the series, there was a story about a tribe from Africa and they were showing them with spears defending against a giant and wild baboon with his mouth wide open attacking the men. They were carrying shields as well and this was also in full color.

That’s all I remember but wish I knew what this series was. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

337C: Series depicts boy growing up on the American frontier

Back in 1968-9 my teacher read our class a book about a boy and his experiences growing up on the American frontier after the American revolution, say 1800-1820 or so.  There was later a second book about this boy who was now experiencing the American drive to the west and the beginning of the railroad age as the new technology was developing.

I don’t remember the name of the books or their author but it was a book my local school had purchased.

337A: The Adventures of Merlin the Magician (Solved!)

I am looking for two books from the 70’s featuring Merlin the Magician.
A little boy and his dog (Max?) go for a walk in the fog and find a store. The store is actually run by Merlin, who tries to trap the boy. The boy damages Merlin’s hat, which is the source of his power.
The boy and his dog escape, and are later unable to.find the store.
In the sequel, Merlin poses as “Auntie Nilrem” and bakes pies – all the while looking for the boy.
Illustrations were black and white with some pink for Merlin’s clothing.
I hope this helps.

336V: Funny Dragon-ish creature (Kaz?)

I think the book was to be one of a series, but I only read the first one. It was set in a land with a limited map, like a world within a land, and the people who lived in the land where unaware of the wider world.

There was a red dragon or lizard named Jaz or Baz or Kaz who was funny and the best friend of the human, who I believe was female.

The cover had the lizard-type creature perched on a roadside boulder, with the road winding down a hill and maybe clouds around the edges.
I believe I read it in the 90’s or 00’s

 In addition, my son says this:
Kaz is the name of the dragon for sure. The land is separated by walls, and one or some start breaking down and that’s the main conflict. Later they find out that the world is set up that way because of fantasy space computers.

334O: Orphans adopted by sadistic older couple (Solved!)

I read a YA series of (I believe 3 books) in the 1980's about 3 children who were orphaned and sent to live with an older couple off of the eastern US coast in a large mansion (perhaps Maine).  The children were regularly subjected to gaslighting and emotional abuse.  No adult believed them until the end of the very last book because the couple was so well regarded in the town.   There was a cliff near the house where the tide came in very quickly and that played into the books very frequently.

333Z: Australian Teenager on the Road, Searching for Biological Mother

In the first half of 2002, I got most of the way through a self-contained YA mystery series. I think there were ten books in total, each about 100-120 pages, probably published recently. I was attending a Canadian high school at the time and discovered the series while volunteering at another school’s library. I read all but the last one (I suspect the school year ended before I had a chance to borrow that one). I’d like to know how the series concluded, but every attempt I’ve made at finding these books online has hit a dead end. I either find nothing, or I find an earlier online description of the series that I wrote in 2015.
The protagonist is a young woman from Australia (as I recall), about sixteen, named something like Blake or Blaine. The series has her name in the title along the lines of ‘The Blake Journals’ or ‘The Blaine Files’ or the like. The first volume opens with her leaving home in a carefully thought-out plan to run away. She disappears in the middle of the night, grabs her possessions, and takes to the road on some kind of motor scooter or moped. We eventually learn that her goal is to locate her biological mother, who vanished years ago. As I recall, there’s very little in terms of action-adventure: this is more about a quiet and painstaking solo quest.
The books’ cover images were nearly identical. They all had the series title in large yellow-and-black typography, staggered a bit for a vintage-typewriter look to convey mystery/edginess. If I had to guess, a publishing house cranked these out in a short period of time as a one-off, but clearly the series intrigued me enough that I read about 90% of it, and now I’m finding it tantalizing.

 

332H: Gnomes, Elves, Dwarves, and Humans Band Together

Looking for a fantasy series where gnomes, elves, humans and dwarves must band together. The fantasy series has gnomes who raise an ancient evil. A wizard is trying to become king. Humans, elves, dwarves & gnomes band together. A young gnome woman finds a dog that she thinks is a wolf, so she names it Wolf. The wizards have some magic plant that makes people work harder. Elves and dwarves are set to invade the gnome tunnels.

332D: Dark Fairy Tale

I have been looking for years for a YA book I read years ago, and I am hoping you can help. This is what I remember – which could be wrong:
  • Young adult fiction
  • Part of a series
  • Dark retelling of classic fairy tales
  • Checked out from my local library between 1999-2008
  • Around the same time I read “Just Ella” by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and this would have been around the same time period and genre. This could even be written by her as well.
The book is set in a fairy-tale land, or ‘medieval’ era. The main character is a young girl who is a witch, or just finds out she is a witch, or is learning to be a witch. The girl becomes the town witch/medicine lady who people come to for medicinal needs. There is a distinct part in the book where someone comes to her with their baby who was born with either six fingers or six toes- and they want it removed, but through magic. The witch knows she can cure it without magic, but she needed to put on some sort of a show, so she draws the circle and summons the demons, but she ends up just biting off the baby’s finger/toe herself and pretending it was the demon. She is found out, the demons demand payment, and she is in big trouble.
Essentially, this is a dark retelling of a fairy tale but I could not tell you which princess she was supposed to be.
I’d love to find this book again!