Winner of the Mildred Batchelder Award, this very human novel of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is both touching and timely
Nothing could be more frightening to Samir, a Palestinian boy, than to be where he is now: an Israeli hospital ward, trapped among the very people he blames for his brother's death. Amid this explosive atmosphere, Samir begins to learn about the Israeli kids around him. He discovers their hurts and conflicts - and hesitantly begins to share his own.
This is a story of violence and healing - the story of a boy facing the enemy he has been taught to fear.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Hebrew
Grade 4-8-Riding his bicycle down the market steps, a young Palestinian falls and smashes his knee so badly that he needs surgery. For the first time in his life, Samir leaves his home in the Occupied Territories to go to a Jewish hospital where an American doctor will operate on him. While waiting for the procedure, Samir gets to know the other children on his ward, all Jews. Beautiful Ludmilla is pining away for her home in Russia and refusing to eat. Razia hides under her bed in fear of her father. Hyperactive Tzahi can't urinate properly and, most importantly, Yonatan with the crippled arm introduces Samir to the stars, computer games, and the way imagination can take one away from a place of pain. As Samir thinks about the home he misses, details of his family life are revealed. Readers learn that his younger brother was killed, shot while playing in the street by a man wearing the same uniform that Tzahi's brother wears when he visits. His older brother has gone to Kuwait to earn money and his mother works two jobs. His father has stopped talking. As the hospitalized children spend time together, they come to support one another, forming a team that crosses cultural boundaries. Samir and Yonatan take an illegal night outing to commandeer an office computer to play a game. Life in the hospital is described as clearly as life in the Occupied Territories and readers will sympathize with Samir's fear and loneliness and welcome his new friendships. Written in Hebrew but published first in Germany, the book is smoothly translated and will have wide appeal.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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