Adventures of the Saci Kids: A New Home
by Pamella A. Russell

"Suddenly, an eerie whistling emerged from the barrel, like someone mourning for the dead and exhaling the sound through shadowy graveyards."

This delightful story revolves around four foster care children who have hit the jackpot in living with Mom and Pop Spears, after having gone through a variety of traumas that led to social services involvement. The Spears offer love and support and embrace the various needs of the kids. This blended family includes one girl with ADHD, an African American boy who struggles with self-esteem issues, another very lonesome boy, and the natural leader of the group—Holly. Additionally, the family includes pets and barnyard animals. Holly makes a discovery and shares it with her siblings, but they keep it secret, especially as a local merchant steals a certain barrel. This barrel houses Saci, a mischievous elf-like trickster who has been sowing havoc everywhere he goes. The adventure keeps the kids busy and bonds them closer. But what is Saci up to? He’s stuck back in the barrel.

Written for ages nine through twelve, the story is based on Brazilian folklore, which examines people, culture, family, and language, with Saci as one of the native tricksters. Written with humor, the adventure is fun and entertaining. It teaches children that goodness can happen out of sorrow and hurt, and joy can still be found in the world. It also teaches how differences based on skin color, disabilities, and abilities—and all other things that make an individual unique—need to be embraced by everyone. The tale relates to everyone, not just to children, for humanity is birthed in such lore. Russell has penned a special book that everyone can enjoy while also learning about compassion and love. It helps broaden the definition of what it means to be a family.

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