It is 1937. Fourteen-year-old Anya and her family are forced out of Odessa by Stalin and flee to Frenchtown, an affluent Jewish settlement in war-torn Shanghai. In the 25-hour period from sundown on Shabbat, Anya rescues an abandoned Chinese infant from the gutter, falls in love with a boy from Italy, and carries her injured brother to safety after a bomb destroys part of her neighborhood. The book explores a little-known passage in Jewish Holocaust history. ANYA'S WAR is a tragi-comic, coming-of-age story, woven with Jewish and Chinese superstition, Greek mythology and Anya’s entries in her Book of Moons.
"Everything good begins with me,"
the acorn told its mother tree,
and drifted on the dancing breeze,
to find a cloak of golden leaves.
So begins the magical journey from the seed of hope to a forest of happiness. This ode to trees invites readers to discover life’s simple gifts: peace, courage, love, generosity, tolerance and more. With lyrical tree bios and an index of state trees, THE HAPPINESS TREE is a celebration of the natural world and all that is good in life.
THE SEED OF THIS BOOK
Anjali Alban befriended a forest of favorite trees as a young girl. There was the flowering plum in the front yard that burst in April with tart stone fruit; a Ponderosa pine at Lake Tahoe which she watched grow from sapling to towering tree; and a Pom-Pom which showered her with a confetti of petals as she daydreamed on the lawn. Her father, annoyed by the impossible-to-rake mess, would shoo her inside so he could vacuum the grass with a Hoover™ upright. Now a San Francisco mother, Anjali believes that many of our children suffer from "nature deficit" and her mission is to ensure that no child is left inside.
Anjali's presentation on ANYA'S WAR was truly outstanding. The students were engaged with her writing exercise and family history. It was great that my students saw how they could shape their own stories into fiction. Anjali has a true gift for shifting her presentation on the spot while delivering a compelling lesson.
— Evan Schnair, English Faculty, Drew High School
Anjali Alban was a gem. Her presentation on ANYA'S WAR inspired the kids and adults in the audience. Everyone enjoyed the photos, learned about Shanghai during the war, and received chopsticks. Book sales were great!
—Judy Wheeler, Towne Center Books
A nominee for the FLORIDA Children’s Book Award. * Adapted into play form by the Tanner Creative Program at The University of Utah. * Touring through children's discovery museums with Out on a Limb. * Sourced for Catholic Education Week school curriculum in Canada.