The Gnome's Eyeby Anna Kerz
In the spring of 1954, when her father announces that the family has a chance to immigrate to Canada, Theresa's life changes forever. She and her family are wartime refugees from Yugoslavia, so it shouldn't be hard to leave Austria. But the weathered barracks of Lager Lichtenstein are the only home she knows, and they are filled with family and friends she doesn't want to leave behind. As she says her good-byes, Theresa's friend Martin gives her two gifts: a package of postcards and a stone he calls the Gnome's Eye, which he says will ""protect her from all things evil, living or dead."" Theresa is convinced the stone has no power, but she still keeps it close as they travel on the crowded immigrant ship and when they settle into a rooming house on Kensington Avenue in Toronto. At first Theresa is afraid of everything: the other tenants in the rooming house, the rat that lives in the kitchen, learning a new language. But as time goes by, Theresa's need for the Gnome's Eye fades, until she is finally able to give it to someone who needs it more than she does.
Read an Excerpt
Dear Martin: I got in trouble yesterday. I thought about all the stories you made up, so I made up one of my own and told it to Herman-the-Pest, and now I have to stay beside my mother for a whole day. I thought it was a good story, but he thought it was scary. The funny part is that he cried again the next night because I wasn't allowed to tell him another one!
I got in trouble yesterday. I thought about all the stories you made up, so I made up one of my own and told it to Herman-the-Pest, and now I have to stay beside my mother for a whole day. I thought it was a good story, but he thought it was scary. The funny part is that he cried again the next night because I wasn't allowed to tell him another one!
Meet the Author
Anna Kerz's first book, The Mealworm Diaries, was shortlisted for many awards, including a Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award. Anna is also the author of The Gnome's Eye, a story loosely based on her experiences as an immigrant child, and Better Than Weird, the companion novel to The Mealworm Diaries. When she's not writing, Anna can be found working in her garden, walking her dog or collecting new folk and fairy tales, myths and legends to try out on her grandchildren. In her spare time, she tells stories to audiences of all ages and teaches students how to tell stories of their own. She lives in Scarborough, Ontario, with her husband, Frank, and their dog, Bailey.
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Living in a refugee camp in Austria after World War II, 10-year-old Theresa longs for a place to call home. When her family is given an opportunity to move to Toronto, Canada, Theresa's friend gives her a stone that she believes will keep her safe. When she arrives in Canada, she has a hard time adjusting to her new school, new home, and new neighbors. When emotional strife over all the new things and learning a foreign language become too much for her, she turns to a kind teacher for help. Will the help be enough for her to find the courage within herself to face her greatest fears - and to finally find a place to call home? A touching story about one's power within themselves. The characters are well-developed. The story is memorable and based on the author's experiences. Readers who like fictionalized true stories, historical fiction, and books about courage and bravery will enjoy THE GNOME'S EYE.