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 the author of more than two dozen books, including The Breadwinner, which has been published in twenty-five languages and was recently adapted into a feature-length animated film and a graphic novel. She has won the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Middle East Book Award, the Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She has received the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement, and she has been named to the Order of Canada. She has donated almost $2 million in royalties to organizations such as Women for Women in Afghanistan, UNICEF and Street Kids International.
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.
An accessible historical overview that is fair to all sides...
To read the collection as a whole is inspiring.
...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.
Highly recommended for school and public libraries.
...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.
An excellent presentation of a confusing historic struggle, told within a palpable, perceptive and empathetic format.
...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.