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Young Adult Fiction Emigration & Immigration

Dance of the Banished

by (author) Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
Emigration & Immigration, Military & Wars, Prejudice & Racism
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price
    $15.95 USD

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 7 to 11


Ali and his fiancée Zeynep dream about leaving their home in Anatolia and building a new life together in Canada. But their homeland is controlled by the Turkish government, which is on the brink of war with Britain and Russia. And although Ali finds passage to Canada to work, he is forced to leave Zeynep behind until he can earn enough to bring her out to join him.

When the First World War breaks out and Canada joins Britain, Ali is declared an enemy alien. Unable to convince his captors that he is a refugee from an oppressive regime, he is thrown in an internment camp where he must count himself lucky to have a roof over his head and food to eat.

Meanwhile, Zeynep is a horrified witness to the suffering of her Christian Armenian neighbours under the Young Turk revolutionary forces. Caught in a country that is destroying its own people, she is determined to save a precious few. But if her plan succeeds, will Zeynep still find a way to cross the ocean to search out Ali? And if she does, will he still be waiting for her?

About the author


Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch est l’auteure d’une dizaine de livres dont Cher Journal : Prisonniers de la grande forêt, Enfant volée, Soldat clandestin et Faire des bombes pour Hitler. Elle a remporté de nombreux prix et est l’une des auteures canadiennes de romans historiques pour les jeunes les plus respectées. L’écriture de Marsha met en relief son héritage ukrainien. Elle a reçu l’Ordre de la princesse Olga de la part du président ukrainien. Elle vit à Brantford, en Ontario.


MARSHA FORCHUK SKRYPUCH is the author of more than a dozen books, including Dear Canada: Prisoners in the Promised Land, Stolen Child, Making Bombs for Hitler, Underground Soldier and Don’t Tell the Enemy. She has won many awards for her work and is one of Canada’s most respected authors of historical fiction for young people. Much of Marsha’s writing focuses on stories from her Ukrainian heritage, and she has been presented with the Order of Princess Olha by the President of Ukraine and named a Canadian Ukrainian Woman of Distinction. Marsha lives in Brantford, Ontario. Visit her online at

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's profile page


  • USBBY Outstanding International Book selection
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Commended, White Ravens Selection
  • Winner, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
  • Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

Editorial Reviews

About Dance of the Banished

2015 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People Winner

2015 White Ravens selection

2015 Junior Library Guild selection

2015 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

2016 USBBY Outstanding International Books List selection

"[A]n absorbing glimpse into a dark period in world history and the human consequences of war."—VOYA

"[T]he setting is fascinating, the research is thorough, and the story is made all the more interesting due to current events in the region."—School Library Journal

"An eye-opening exposé of historical outrages committed in two countries, with intriguing glimpses of a minority group that is not well-known in the Americas."—Kirkus Reviews

"The author's somber rendering of WWI atrocities against Armenians is reminiscent of fellow Canadian author Deborah Ellis' caring attention to modern-day Afghan refugees and Middle Eastern youth living in conflict. There are many lessons for young readers in this story of hope and fear, love and determination, and the universal significance of bearing witness."—Booklist

"[A] worthwhile acquisition for middle and high school library collections; it will complement other works focusing on the story of young people affected by war-time, including The Diary of Anne Frank...Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"[V]ividly portrayed....a timely contribution to both Canadian and global First World War history."—Quill & Quire

"This latest work is an outstanding testament to Skrypuch's mastery as a writer of historical fiction for young readers...She has put a profoundly human face on the horrors of war while also creating an insightful portrait of the Alevi Kurds...Skrypuch skillfully captures their voices, their longing, their heartbreak and their courage."—Canadian Children's Book News

"Skrypuch's compelling characters give an authentic voice to this well researched story. It is definitely a book for adults as well as teens."—National Reading Campaign

"It's a love story filled with tragedy when Ali is forced into a Canadian internment camp, and Zeynep faces horrors as the Ottoman Army marches through her villages. This moving book will enlighten and appeal to readers ages 12 to adult."—The Calgary Herald

"the historical details that make this story interesting cannot be overlooked."—Resource Links

"An eye-opening, significant literary and historical gift to readers, young and old."—Smithsonian BookDragon

"A dynamic and compelling story with likeable and realistic characters, this fictionalized narrative about how war often makes no distinctions between cultural groups will appeal to middle and secondary readers interested in history, romance, and how political movements on an international scale often wreak havoc at the local and individual levels."—Worlds of Words


Librarian Reviews

Dance Of The Banished

A teenager leaves his fiancée behind in their Anatolian village to make a new life in Canada for them both. But when WWI breaks out, he is sent to an internment camp while his betrothed struggles to survive and find a way to join him @MarshaSkrypuch

This title won the 2015 Geoffrey Bilson award for Historical Fiction, and is a compelling story about the Armenian Genocide at the beginning of the twentieth century. Though the story takes place over one hundred years ago, students can make comparisons to modern-day refugees determined to stay alive and find salvation in a new country. The love between the two protagonists provides a compelling narrative in this horrifying part of history. This book can be shared to help students understand the internment of so-called “enemy aliens” in Canada.

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

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