I love the wee free men of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. I finally got to read the first book, "The Wee Free Men" (copyright 2003) and I can't wait to read the second book, "Wintersmith". However, SOMEONE has borrowed it.
Here's the story. Tiffany Aching has always wanted to be a witch - well, at least, ever since she saw what her neighbors and the Baron did to a feeble minded old woman.
Her story starts the day she takes her baby brother, Wentworth, down to the water and sees the Wee Free men. She also sees a green monster and comes back to bonk it on the head with a frying pan. Tiffany is no wimp and neither are the heavily accented Wee Free men. They are brawling, mauling, stealing, reeling, kilted tiny magical men who need Tiffany's help.
And they will do anything ennythin' that Tiffany wants. Verr handy, that. Read the book. It's a romp. And I want a bunch of wee free men to do my bidding.
I also read, for the first time, "Belle Prater's Boy" (c 1995). Guess who's weeding the Young Adult section? I like Ruth White's work a lot. She writes about people in coal mining regions in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.
Woodrow's mama, Belle, just disappears from the small cabin the family lives in. So Woodrow goes to live with his mother's parents in town. His cousin, Gypsy, lives next door and the two become best friends. Gypsy has nightmares about a grief that she has never come to grips with. Her friendship with Woodrow helps both of them come clean about things that have happened to them.
It's hard to do justice when writing about books like these. There's no fantasy, no sex, the adventures the two kids have are gentle and not even mildly scary. The reader gets to watch two kids grow for a year and the kids deal with some heavy things, sometimes with humor, sometimes not. Read it!