Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 5
Sam, an Israeli teen whose leg may have to be amputated, and Yusuf, a Palestinian teen who has lost his left eye, find themselves uneasy roommates in a Jerusalem hospital. One night, the boys decide to slip away while the nurses aren’t looking and go on an adventure to the Old City.
The escapade turns dangerous when they realize they’re hopelessly lost. As they navigate the dark city—one of them limping and the other half-blind—their suspicions of each other are diverted. They band together to find their way home, defending themselves against unfriendly locals, arrest by the military police, and an encounter with a deadly desert snake. The boys’ attempts to understand each other and the politics that divide them mirror the longstanding conflict in the Middle East.
This powerful story, touched with humor, demonstrates how individual friendships and experiences can triumph over enormous cultural and political differences and lead to understanding and compassion.
About the author
Sharon McKay is an award-winning author of many books for parents and children, including Penelope from the Our Canadian Girl series. Her first young adult novel, Charlie Wilcox, won the Geoffrey Bilson Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and the Ruth Schwartz Award. Charlie Wilcox's Great War, the sequel, was nominated for a 2003 Red Maple Award. Esther, her most recent novel for young adults, was shortlisted for a 2004 Governor General's Award.
“In this fast-paced narrative, Sam and Yusuf blur together at times—anger is a realistic, defining characteristic for both—but given the overarching theme, that confusion just may be the point … powerful.”
Kirkus Reviews, 08/22
Other titles by Sharon McKay
Reinvesting in Families
Strengthening Child Welfare Practice for a Brighter Future
The Graphic Novel
Awakening the Spirit
Moving Forward in Child Welfare: Voices from the Prairies
Thunder Over Kandahar
Our Canadian Girl Penelope
Whispers In Hiding
Passion for Action in Child and Family Services
Voices from the Prairies