The Court of the Stone Children by Eleanor Cameron
An intriguing chapter book for older elementary or middle school students that is filled with a sense of magic and mystery, it tells the story of Nina, who has just moved to San Francisco with her parents. She misses her old home and hasn’t made new friends. But then she visits a small museum near her new home, where she encounters a strange, old-fashioned girl named Domi and becomes friends with her. Domi has been waiting a long time for Nina – she is the spirit of a girl who lived in Napoleonic France and she and Nina have a mysterious connection that blurs the lines of time and space. Domi needs Nina’s help to clear the name of her father, accused of conspiring against Napoleon and committing a terrible crime for which he was executed, but Domi knows he was innocent. Nina will have to solve a centuries-old mystery in order to help her new friend. Nina is a well-drawn character who grows as the book progresses and the adults in the story are all portrayed as intelligent, real people too, unlike in some children’s literature where the adults have no clue about anything. As Nina investigates the mystery, she learns more about herself and comes to find her place in her new home.