The Ear, the Eye and the Arm
Cover illustration: Broeck Steadman
Puffin, 1994; audio: Recorded Books
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The year is 2174. The place is Zimbabwe, Africa. Three adventurous children escape their parents’ heavily guarded mansion to explore the dangerous world outside. They soon learn how dangerous it really is. Tendai, the oldest boy, is their leader, although he worries about being brave enough. Rita, his sister, is an expert at starting fights. Kuda, his little brother, is willing to try anything. They are quickly enslaved in a plastic mine ruled by the terrifying She Elephant and her army of vlei people. Vlei people have been living in the dump so long they look like piles of trash. The children flee them to find new perils. They are pursued by the Ear, the Eye and the Arm, detectives hired by the children’s parents, who always seem to arrive too late. The worst danger of all lies at the top of the Mile High MacIlwaine, a hotel so tall that it sways like a tree in the wind. For up there are not merely humans, but spirits whose aim is to devour the souls of Zimbabwe.
Newbery Honor, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Notable Children’s Book, Parent’s Choice 1994 Story Book Award, Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books 1994 Blue Ribbon Book, Parenting Magazine Reading Magic Award, , Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Honor, Hal Clement [Golden Duck] Award.
Read Interviews on Nancy's writing about Africa and her answers to frequent questions about this book.
*"A marvelous odyssey...featuring a witty projection of the future, a score of vividly realized characters, and a nonstop adventure culminating in a denouement that's at once taut, comic, and touching, Farmer has created a splendidly imaginative fantasy."-- Kirkus Reviews, pointer review.
*"Farmer uses her knowledge of Africa to imagine a city in 23rd-century Zimbabwe, combining old traditions and speculative technology with delightfully entertaining results...[she] is emerging as one of the best and brightest authors for the YA audience."-- Publishers Weekly, starred review.
A Girl Named Disaster
Cover illustration: Robert Hunt
Puffin, 1996; audio: Recorded Books
Nhamo's mother is dead, and her father is gone. When she learns that she must marry a cruel man with three wives--before her twelfth birthday--she runs away. Alone on the river, in a stolen boat, Nhamo is swept into the uncharted heart of a great lake. There she battles drowning, starvation, and wild animals, and comes to know Africa's mystical, luminous spirits. Nhamo's journey will transport readers in to her world, in a story that is poignant, humorous, dramatic, and extraordinary.
Newbery Honor, National Book Award Finalist, ALA Notable Book, ALA Best Book for Young Readers, IBBY honor list, Hungry Mind Review Books of Distinction, Bay Area Book Reviewers’ Association Award for Children’s Literature, Commonwealth Club of California Book Silver Medal, Horn Book fanfare book, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Top Ten, Parents’ Choice 1996 Story Book Award.
Read Interviews on Nancy's writing about Africa.
*"A gripping adventure, equally a survival story and a spiritual voyage...Nhamo is a stunning creation--while she serves as a fictional ambassador from a foreign culture, she is supremely human. An unforgettable work."--Publishers Weekly, starred review.
"...humorous and heartwrenching, complex and multilayered, and the fortunate child who reads it will place Nhamo alongside Zia (Island of the Dolphins) and Julie (Julie of the Wolves). An engrossing and memorable saga." --Susan Pine, School Library Journal.
"As rewarding, and as challenging, as The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm."-- Kirkus Reviews.
The Warm Place
Cover Illustration: Brad Weinman
Puffin Books, 1995; audio: Recorded Books
Ruva lives peacefully with her giraffe family in Africa--until she is kidnapped by the dastardly Slope family and shipped to the San Francisco zoo. Then she meets the wise rats Troll and Rodentus: a magical chameleon named Nelso: and Jabila, a boy who has been kidnapped by the Slopes, too. Can the five outwit their captors and find "the warm place" that is their home?
Best Children's Book, Zimbabwe International Book Fair, 1996
*"Farmer confirms her place among the most inventive YA writers of the day with this rollicking tale.... Following in the grand tradition of Roald Dahl's fantastical James and the Giant Peach, Farmer's tale careens from one over-the-top situation to the next; laced with dry humor and populated by memorable characters, it is pure delight."--Publishers Weekly, starred review.
Do You Know Me
Illustrated Shelley Jackson
Puffin Books, 1995
After he's robbed , Uncle Zeka walks all the way from his bush village to the capital of Zimbabwe to stay with Tapiwa's family. He's excited about his new home--but he can't seem to break his old habits. He eats caterpillars and termites. He teaches Tapiwa how to dig a trap for wild pigs. And he insists on driving, though he doesn't know how. The longer he stays, the more trouble he gets into--but Tapiwa never wants him to leave!
*"An exaggerated splendidly comic tale enriched by profound undertones"--Kirkus Reviews, pointer review.
*"Farmer is clearly a born storyteller--in this impressive first book she displays an astute ear for dialogue, a deft hand with plot twists and a keen, dry wit. Tapiwa could be the girl next door; she is also a most interesting window on a culture seldom seen in children's books." --Publishers Weekly, starred review.