I was out running today and the memory of two different stories for which I cannot remember the names floated up. The first one was something I read when rather young, so good chance it was one of the Scholastic books you would order from school for a buck or less. There was a a group of siblings who I am pretty sure were black and I think the premiss was that they were in some alternate world. The part I remember well was that while walking through what I want to believe was a desert-like terrain, one of the kids cracked the carapace of some centipede-like thing and the author described the brown ichor which came out rather vividly. The second is a story that had some element of entering into altered states of mind and in that state, taking care of the citizenry of the culture the story was based on. Entering into the state that allowed the practitioners the ability to heal wounds as bad as severed fingers or mortal torching and was called "floating the stone" or something to that effect. Any help on the names of these stories or who wrote them??