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Children's Fiction Short Stories


by (author) Deborah Ellis

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Oct 2017
Short Stories, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Recommended Age
10 to 13
Recommended Grade
5 to 8
Recommended Reading age
10 to 13
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Nine poignant and empowering short stories from the author of The Breadwinner.

The seated child. With a single powerful image, Deborah Ellis draws our attention to nine children and the situations they find themselves in, often through no fault of their own. In each story, a child makes a decision and takes action, be that a tiny gesture or a life-altering choice.

Jafar is a child laborer in a chair factory and longs to go to school. Sue sits on a swing as she and her brother wait to have a supervised visit with their father at the children’s aid society. Gretchen considers the lives of concentration camp victims during a school tour of Auschwitz. Mike survives seventy-two days of solitary as a young offender. Barry squirms on a food court chair as his parents tell him that they are separating. Macie sits on a too-small time-out chair while her mother receives visitors for tea. Noosala crouches in a fetid, crowded apartment in Uzbekistan, waiting for an unscrupulous refugee smuggler to decide her fate.

These children find the courage to face their situations in ways large and small, in this eloquent collection from a master storyteller.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

About the author

Deborah Ellis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books for children, including The Breadwinner Trilogy; The Heaven Shop; Lunch With Lenin; Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees; and Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk About AIDS. She has won many national and international awards for her books, including the Governor General’s Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Book for Older Readers.Deborah knew she wanted to be a writer at the age of 11 or 12. Growing up in Paris, Ontario, she loved reading about big cities like New York. In high school, Deborah joined the Peace Movement, playing anti-Nuclear War movies at her school. Since then Deborah has become a peace activist, humanitarian and philanthropist, donating almost all of the royalties from her books to communities in need in Asia and Africa. Heavily involved with Women for Women in Afghanistan, Deborah has helped build women’s centers and schools, giving children education and finding work for women.In 2006, Deborah was named to the Order of Ontario. She now lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Deborah Ellis' profile page


  • Short-listed, MYRCA Northern Lights
  • Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

Excerpt: Sit (by (author) Deborah Ellis)

“We would make perfect murderers,” said Sanu, who was one year older than Jafar…

“What are you talking about?” Jafar asked.

Sanu held up his hands and wiggled his fingers.

“No fingerprints!” he said, laughing.

They could laugh now, but when Jafar first started sanding, his fingers got so sore and bloody!

“Get one more drop of blood on one of my chairs, you little cockroach, and I’ll send you back to your family in a garbage sack!” Boss had yelled at him.


Oak Street was not the busiest street in town, but lots of people still walked down it, and they all looked at Bea, sitting by herself on a bench in the middle of a school day.

Bea didn’t worry about the old ladies. She had sat on this bench before on her days off and the old ladies left her alone…

The dangerous ones were the yoga ladies…

The yoga ladies were busybodies.


Mike hears the outer door of the Administrative Segregation pod shut and lock. He is all alone…

His eyes are wiped and his face is dry by the time he hears the Ag Seg door unlock again and the peep-hole covering in his own door slide open.

“You all right in there, 75293?”

Mike knows the voice of CO Jenson.

It is the voice of the devil.

Editorial Reviews

Beautifully wrought, the collection will appeal to thoughtful readers who appreciate Ellis' other globally-aware works … An excellent choice for all collections.


… the collection’s focus on the action—or, more appropriately, the inaction—of sitting places readers right next to each protagonist as they transition from physically and metaphorically staying still to moving on.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Sit is an obvious choice for school library fiction collections ... I think that it’s hard not to find at least one story with which students can find a personal connection. So, find your “Reading Chair”, sit down and lose yourself in the power of story.

Canadian Review of Materials

Ellis nimbly slips into the minds of her memorable characters … and her thought-provoking collection should spark wide-ranging discussions about choice and injustice.

Publishers Weekly

Every story is poignant and provocative. Ellis writes with deep compassion and intuitiveness.

School Library Journal

Ellis’ cleverly crafted tales will encourage children to stand up for themselves and take risks to solve their problems.

Quill & Quire

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