Book of the Week: ‘Naji and the Mystery of the Dig’ by Vahid Imani

Naji andthe mystery of the dig is the highly engaging tale of a day in the life of Naji,an eight year old girl growing up in Persia. Author Vahid Imani has crafted a book which is sure to hold the interest of young readers while offering a rare and enchanting glimpse into the fascinating culture of Persia.  
Children’s Literary Classics

There’s a deep, dark hole in Naji’s yard and it’s full of secrets. But will the girl’s curiosity lead her to answers, or disaster?  

When Naji wakes to a strange sound she discovers a group of workers digging a hole just outside her room. Filled with intrigue, she wonders what they’ll find at the bottom. Sleeping monsters? Skeletons and curses? Her father warns her to stay away. The worksite is no place for a child, and if she isn’t careful, she’ll be snatched up by a Looloo; mythical creatures that lurk in the shadows.

Summoning her courage, Naji decides to investigate—until a terrible event leaves the whole neighborhood panicking. Have the terrifying Looloos struck again? As it turns out, the answer is far more surprising than Naji and her father could ever imagine.  

Based on a true story, this award-winning middle-grade chapter book includes a glossary, study projects, and discussion questions. Join Naji on a suspense-filled exploration of Persian culture and folklore as she learns that sometimes, the best adventures are waiting right under your nose.

Winner of a Gold award in 2015 from The Children’s Literary Classics.
Winner of 2015 Best In Category: Cultural Issues Preteen from The Children’s Literary Classics.
Winner of 2015 Best In Category: Best First Chapter Book from The Children’s Literary Classics.

Find out more about Naji and the Mystery of the Dig at 
Amazon | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

About the Author

Vahid Imani was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and made the United States his home in 1979. Coming from an old civilization, he is fascinated by ancient cultures and archeology. He earned a master’s degree from Gonzaga University’s School of Business, Spokane Washington, in 1980. An enthusiast of fine art, he has been creating music, poetry and stories since he was seven years old. He is father of three children and grandfather of three (so far). Currently, when he is not dreaming about his next book, he is teaching music and classical guitar to children of all ages.

Reader Reviews: 

Great kids book
A wonderful book! A charming story that introduces readers to the Persian culture. The study guide in the back of the book adds the educational aspect of this mystery novel. I highly recommend this book for every child’s bookshelf. 
Kellie Henkel 5.0 out of 5 stars 
Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2021


Great book for third grade
I teach third grade. After my students read an opening Reading unit with a couple of tales from Aladdin, this book was a perfect Real Aloud for students after lunch. They really enjoyed the aspect of the ‘mystery’ and the tales of Naji, an eight year old girl from mid 20th century Persia. It was fascinating and culturally rich with wonderful sensory imagery. My students are looking forward to a sequel. I really enjoyed the book myself and it presents a wonderful slice of city life in Tehran 80 years ago.
Gilson 5.0 out of 5 stars 
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2020

Book Review: ‘Of Vultures and Kings’ by William Joseph

‘Of Vultures and Kings’ Is a most enjoyable children’s fantasy book that takes the reader on an adventure into enchanted forests, secretive realms and dangerous, unknown places.

This is a very entertaining story that delivers positive lessons about friendship, loyalty and trust in times of adversity and fear.

A great book for independent readers and for family reading, this book would make a great addition to personal collections and to school and community libraries.

Book Review: ‘Ronaldo: The Flying Reindeer Academy’ by Maxine Sylvester

Ronaldo is no ordinary reindeer, as this wonderful children’s book reveals.

Ronaldo attends the Flying Reindeer Academy alongside his best friend Rudi, enjoys The Weekly Flyer comics every Saturday morning, and dreams of becoming one of Santa’s elite reindeer like his hero, Vixen Pedersen. 

This is a really fun story about friendship, encouragement and celebrating one another’s achievements. The story is infused with humour and warmth that is sure to engage and entertain young readers. The characters and events of the story are relatable, delivering positive lessons and modeling appropriate responses to typical.childhood challenges along the way. 

Delightful reading for families and for independent young readers, this book would make an excellent addition to family, school.and community libraries.

Book Review: ‘Dragon’s Rock’ Lucy Evans Instaexplorer Book 2 by Millie Slavidou

‘Dragon’s Rock is an excellent kids’ mystery novel in which Lucy visits family in Wales and stumbles upon a series of clues relating to a local mystery. 

Lucy and her cousin Bethan are delightful characters who demonstrate intelligence and integrity, and who are both creative and imaginative in their own ways. Both are engaging and positive role models for young readers. 

The story is well written, structured so that the action progresses at a good pace, keeping the reader interested as the intrigue heightens. The inclusion of attractive images of Lucy’s fictional Instagram posts gives the book a very contemporary feel that readers will find relatable and appealing.

It is an ideal book for independent middle grade readers or for family reading, ‘Dragon’s Rock’ would make an excellent addition to family, school, and local library collections. 

Book Review: ‘October Jones: The Lightning Pines Mystery’ by J.D. McFarren

This is an entertaining and interesting mystery story for kids that delivers positive messages about honesty, friendship and personal integrity. 

October Jones is a likeable protagonist who kids will relate to easily. He is basically a good kid, but finds himself getting into trouble from time to time. Alongside his friends and his sister April, October takes it upon himself to solve a mystery and finds himself defending his own innocence at the same time. 

This is a kids’ novel suitable for independent readers, or for families to read together. It would make an excellent addition to any family, town or school library. 

Book Review: ‘Betwixters: Once Upon a Time’ by Laura C Cantu

What a wonderful, spellbinding story! 

‘Betwixters’ has just the right balance of friendship, danger, adventure and magic to make it a highly engaging and memorable story that draws the reader in right from the start. 

Noah, Skye and Ethan are three regular kids who find their courage and friendship tested by the most unique circumstances, but it is those same qualities that they rely on to find the solution to their problems. They are realistic and relatable characters, brought to life in a really vivid way. The wider cast of supporting characters is similarly true to life, 

The story is wonderfully written, infused with suspense and tempered with humour, and frequently evoking a warm and positive tone that provides a very good balance for the darker elements of the story.

A great story for all ages from middle years up, ‘Betwixters’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village’ by Ronesa Aveela

This is a great fantasy story full of intrigue, action and challenges that require Theo, the main character, and his friends to use their skills and their brains to work out how to rescue those who fall into the hands of a cruel and hateful power.

Even greater than the obstacles Theo faces in learning what his abilities are, he must learn to overcome his self doubt and his fears by focusing on what is really important. This is an important and empowering message for the target audience of this book: older children and younger teens, who will readily relate to the problems of family relationships and friendship issues that the various characters in the book encounter.

Promoting values of loyalty, trust and resilience, the story takes the reader on a journey through varied and interesting places, filled with all sorts of magical creatures– not all of whom are helpful in the completion of Theo’s quest. 

This would be a great book for kids to read independently, or for a family to share together. It would also make a great addition to classroom and library bookshelves. 

A positive and encouraging tale, ‘The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village ‘ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Trouble with Antlers’ by A.J. Culey

A fun read for MY and YA readers.

A.J. Culey Shifter High 1‘The Trouble With Antlers’ is the first in A.J. Culey’s Shifter High series. The premise and storyline of the book are fun: what happens when humans move to a town populated entirely by shifters? It makes for an entertaining read, enriched with situational comedy and a good number of lighthearted moments to balance those full of teen angst and embarrassment.

While the series is written for a young adult audience, this book proved to be both enjoyable and interesting for this adult reader. While it may not have the depth and heart-in-your-throat moments that something like Harry Potter has, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: a reader doesn’t always have the energy or the desire to have their heart broken seven times or more in each sitting.
Acorn Award II Silver

If you’re looking for a light read that is fun and engaging, this is a great choice. As such, it has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find the series here.

Book Review: ‘Tea and Dark Chocolate’ by Debbie Manber Kupfer

A fun read for older children and MY readers.

Debbie Manber Kupfer Tea and Dark Chocolate‘Tea and Dark Chocolate’ is a delightful collection of short stories and poetry for older children and younger YA readers. Some pieces are magical, others whimsical, but all are entertaining and interesting.

This book would suit any kids who are interested in stories about magic, fantasy creatures and amusing situations. It’s lighthearted and fun, and should engage even readers with a short attention span.

This book works perfectly well as a standalone, but also serves as a nice introduction to the author’s P.A.W.S series of #paranormal books for the same audience.

Acorn Award II SilverAn enjoyable read, ‘Tea and Dark Chocolate’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Dreamland’ by Julia E. Clements

‘Dreamland’ is a delightful children’s chapter book.

Julia Clements DreamlandFilled with magic, unicorns, fairies and other fantastic stories, ‘Dreamland’ is a delightful children’s chapter book. Each chapter is a new adventure in which Danny learns to work with his strengths and face his fears.

The author has very effectively portrayed Danny as a regular kid, with a great imagination and sense of humour as well as his fears and flaws, so kids will easily relate to him and his responses to the things that happen in his stories.

This would be a great book for families to read together, or for individual reading for kids in MY and older. As an adult reader, I still found it engaging and entertaining.Acorn Award I Golden

‘Dreamland’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

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