In a rehabilitation center for disabled children, twelve-year-old Nora says she loves the color pink and chewing gum and explains that the wheels of her wheelchair are like her legs. Eleven-year-old Mohammad describes how his house was demolished by soldiers. And we meet twelve-year-old Salam, whose older sister walked into a store in Jerusalem and blew herself up, killing herself and two people, and injuring twenty others. All these children live both ordinary and extraordinary lives. They argue with their siblings. They dream about their wishes for the future. They have also seen their homes destroyed, their families killed, and they live in the midst of constant upheaval and violence.
This simple and telling book allows children everywhere to see those caught in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as children just like themselves, but who are living far more difficult, dangerous lives.
Deborah Ellis is a member of the Order of Canada. She has won the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She is best known for her Breadwinner series, which has been published in twenty-five languages, with $2 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International. deborahellis.com
Here is a balanced and thought-provoking work recommended for school and public libraries.
A balanced historical introduction provides background for the interviews in which children talk about how the choices other people have made have affected their lives. Ellis alternates Israeli and Palestinian voices and prefaces each of the accounts by an informative discussion of pertinent issues and a profile of the interviewee and his/her experiences...The candid and passionate voices in these narratives may be used to awaken interest and encourage discussion among young readers.
...it also gives a wrenching sense of childhood during a terrorist war, expressed in what appear to be genuine voices. It requires discussion after reading and would be an especially apt choice for school libraries. Recommended with reservations for Grades 5 to 12.
...a moving, sometimes chilling, expression of the disruption and distress created in young people's lives by the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, as well as a reminder of the human capacity for hope and renewal.
...stirring...These young people come from diverse faiths - they are Jewish, Muslim and Christian - and yet it is the commonality of their experience that impresses the reader.
To read the collection as a whole is inspiring.
An accessible historical overview that is fair to all sides...
An excellent presentation of a confusing historic struggle, told within a palpable, perceptive and empathetic format.
Highly recommended for school and public libraries.
"An accessible historical overview that is fair to all sides..." — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW